Category: Announcements

So you’re thinking about buying a generator …

Posted by Eric Berger at 10:00 AM

This is the third in our series of posts sponsored by Reliant. They’re covering our site for the entire 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, and in return we’re writing a handful of posts that highlight their services to readers. Today’s post relates to your questions and answers regarding choosing a generator.

We’re now three weeks past the storms of Hurricane Harvey, and the rains are still fresh in our minds as we’re thinking about the next time. For most homeowners, the power didn’t go out this time, a real blessing amid the torrential rainfall. The power remained mostly on during Harvey because winds never reached sustained tropical storm speeds in Houston—but for hurricanes making landfall closer to our region that won’t be the case. Therefore, as you’re updating your hurricane survival plans after Harvey, this post will answer some questions you may have if you’re considering a generator.

For Houston residents, our sponsor, Reliant, has the expertise to help take the guesswork out of the process. They can help by providing guidance about the installation process, selecting the right model, the right fuel—natural gas, portable, even solar— and addressing costs. The purpose of this post is to answer some of those questions.

Deciding whether to purchase a generator is a big decision. Here are some tools to help you. (Reliant)

The first step is to request a free assessment. Reliant will come to your home to determine the best generator for your needs, installation location and budget. This is a good time to ask all of the questions you have about the whole process. Here are some of the general installation questions likely to come up:

  • Is my home eligible for a Reliant generator installation? You must own the home and have natural gas line access to the house.
  • Where do you install the generator? Reliant tries to place the unit near the breaker box. If it can’t be installed there, Reliant will work with you to find a desirable location.
  • Will any construction be needed at my home? A concrete slab will be poured, similar to what an outside air conditioning unit sits on. A licensed plumber and electrician will run piping and wiring to connect the generator to the gas line and electrical breaker box. Sometimes these are below ground; sometimes they are attached to the house. All work done complies with building code standards.
  • Who will perform the construction and install the generator? Professional technicians who are licensed, insured and background-checked perform all construction, installation and maintenance.
  • How long does it take to install a generator? From start to finish, it usually takes 5 to 7 business days.
  • Do I need to contact the city about permits for my generator installation? No. Reliant will handle all permitting for you, and notify both the city and your transmission and distribution provider (CenterPoint in Houston) on your behalf.

Read More…

E-mail subscriptions for Space City Weather

Posted by Eric Berger at 11:42 AM

This is just a quick note to test the e-mail subscription feature for the site. When we moved servers last week, we couldn’t immediately move the subscriber list with us. That meant we went from more than 2,000 e-mail subscriptions down to zero. Some people have signed up since then.

Today I think we finally solved the problem of transferring the old e-mail addresses from our original server, so our subscriber list is back up over 2,000. But I’m not 100 percent sure what will happen if you signed up in the last week.

So this is a test. If you just get this e-mail once, perfect. If you receive it multiple times, click the “manage subscriptions” button at the bottom of this e-mail to pare back to one subscription. And if you didn’t receive an e-mail, and want to, sign up in box to the right of this post that says “Subscribe via e-mail.”

Thanks to everyone for their patience.

Welcome to the new Space City Weather

Posted by Eric Berger at 6:38 PM

You may have noticed that we’ve had some server issues over the last six months. The thing is, we became really popular, really quickly. And that’s a good thing—just not when you’re trying to keep the site running and bad weather hits and the site dies.

New server, same logo.

Fortunately, I think we’ve solved the issues. We’ve moved the site to a new server. We have lots of memory, cache, storage, and all kinds of other resources I think we’re going to need. I think.

If you subscribed by e-mail, we haven’t migrated users over to the new server yet. I’m hoping to address this in the next 24 to 48 hours. We have a plan. I think it will work. If it doesn’t work, or if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, you can subscribe now in the “Subscribe via e-mail” box to the right of this post.

Thank you to all of our readers for your patience and forbearance. If it’s been frustrating for you, believe me, it’s been ten-fold for us.

Note: This is the second in our series of posts sponsored by Reliant. They’re covering our site for the entire 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, and in return we’re writing a handful of posts that highlight their services to readers. Today’s post concerns air conditioning efficiency and other tips to keep you (somewhat) cool this summer.

Houston has had an easy slide into summer this year, as we haven’t yet reached the upper 90s. But we all know what’s coming later in July and August, and the time to make sure your home and AC are prepared for deep summer heat is now. (Last year’s first 100-degree day came on July 23). The last thing you want is your AC to go out on the hottest day of the year.

(Reliant)

Tip #1: Be efficient

Take control of your costs by following the four-by-four principle for your AC. Set your thermostat four degrees higher when you’re away from home for more than four hours to help reduce electricity usage and costs. When your thermostat is set below 78 degrees, each degree cooler can increase your costs by up to seven percent.

Switch your ceiling fan to turn counter-clockwise during the summer months to create a wind chill effect when coupled with cool air from your AC, for a more comfortable living environment. However, remember to turn off fans when you leave the room. Fans are for people—not for rooms.

Resist the urge to override your automatic AC fan settings. Set your AC fan to the “auto” rather than “on” position. The “on” setting can increase energy costs and cause heat from the attic to transfer into your living space through the ductwork, making the AC work harder to maintain your desired temperature.

Use a programmable thermostat. It will automatically adjust the temperature to fit your schedule and conserve energy, not to mention help prevent mold that thrives in hotter, humid temperatures.

Tip #2: Change your air filters

Replacing filters regularly helps your system operate more efficiently and can prolong the life of your AC equipment. Reliant even delivers AC filters right to your door with Reliant Filters Made Easy, one less item for your checklist. Also, while changing your filters, be sure and check that you’re not obstructing the return air vents with furniture, or other items.

Tip #3: Properly insulate your home

A house without enough insulation can lose up to 40 percent of cooled air, and more than 80 percent of homes built prior to 1980 do not have enough insulation. This is the most cost-effective home improvement that can be made, as conventional insulation is relatively inexpensive.

Tip #4: Get Your HVAC Checked Out

Reliant’s home services, which are available to everyone, not just Reliant customers, to help keep you comfortable. They service air conditioning, heating (admittedly, probably not a priority right now), plumbing, electrical and more. During an AC checkuplicensed HVAC professional checks multiple points in your system, and inspects all components and parts and find out if you’re getting enough cool air to rooms.