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Posts Tagged ‘Bloomington’

Winterization – Sprinkler System Blowout

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Every year we hear a story of someone moving to Minnesota from somewhere warm, Texas, Flordia, California.  Usually the person moves into their residence in the summer or fall and doesn’t realize their sprinkler system needs to be blown out before the Winter hits.  Inevitably they discover should have been winterized only after the pipes freeze and break.

Some things to remember if you are new to Minnesota:

1.)  Late September/October is the best time to get your system blown out or winterized.  Once November hits the chances of the temperature dropping below 32 degrees is very high.

2.)  Once your system is blown out do not turn your system back on if it warms up.

3.)  Your sprinkler system needs to be in working order before winterization.  Broken or cut lines can allow water to get back into the system and potentially damage the system.

4.)  Schedule your winterization in September even if you don’t want it blown out until late fall.  Trucks fill up quickly and it is less likely you will be able to get someone to Winterize your system if you wait too long.

Bloomington Utility Water Rates (2011)

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Note:  Some cities use measurements such as units, cubic meters or cubic feet for some reason.  So, in addition to the city’s water pricing structure we have done the conversion to gallons for to give you a better frame of reference.

City of Bloomington Water Rates (2010)

0-20000 Gallons $2.28 per 1000 Gallons
Over 20000 Gallons $3.20 per 1000 Gallons

How Much Does it Cost to Run Landscape Lighting?

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

The answer will vary, and it may be necessary to look at an old electric bill to determine the electric companies’ rate.  Usually the cost of electricity is measured in kilowatt hours.  The average national rate is 11.53 cents per kilowatt hour.  The cost per hour can vary wildly, check out the department of energy here to find out how much your electricity costs.

To find out the monthly cost it will require a little math. First you need to calculate approximately how long it is running per month.  So the average person in the fall would run from dusk to midnight.  Here in Minnesota that is around 6 hours a day so, 6 hour  multiplied my 31 days equals 186 hours.  We then need to decide how big of transformer we are using, a 600 watt transformer could run roughly 10 – 20 lights and is a good size for an average residence.  We will then base our calculations on this size of transformer.

1000 watts = 1 kilowatt

We divide the 600 watts by 1000 to get .6 killowatt hours as our usage

.6 multiplied by 186 gives us 111.6 kilowatt hours for the month.

In Minnesota the average kilowatt hour is 11 cents so we multiply 111.6 by 11 and divide by 100

The cost to run an average sized system in Minnesota is then $12.28 a month.

The Truth About LEDs and Landscape Lighting

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Is the future of landscape lighting in Minnesota going to be found in LEDs? Millions of dollars have been poured into research and design by lamp and landscape lighting manufacturers.  After doing a large amount of research and having used the latest in LED technology from a leading manufacture, the answer is clear. LED’s primary advantage is energy conservation. Unfortunately for those of us living in colder climates there are extra disadvantages.

Advantages

  • Lower electrical costs for running the system.
  • Smaller gauge wire is used allowing easier installation and lower wire cost.
  • Smaller transformer is needed because of lower wattage used by lamps.
  • Larger Voltage range allows greater flexibility in design.

Disadvantages

  • Whiter, “less natural” color temperatures.
  • Color quality degrades over time.
  • The entire fixture must be thrown away after the lamp dies.
  • Cost of fixtures is easily double to triple that of traditional fixtures.
  • Upfront cost is much higher
  • Initial costs are only pay off if the homeowner stays in the house for 15+ years.
  • LEDS do not melt snow!!

A leading manufacture’s website states that their fixtures stay at 60 degrees Fahrenheit even when it is -20 Fahrenheit outside.  This may be true that the side of the fixture get this warm but the front simply does not.  Having purchased and installed a brand new 8.5 watt LED in my yard, I can tell you LEDs do NOT melt snow.  Light flurries that occur when the light is running will melt off the top of the lighting. Snowfalls that occur when the light isn’t on or larger accumulations of snow simply do not melt.  The light fixture creates a hollow space in the snow around itself and the snow glows but your landscape will be dark.  Until LEDs can melt snow build up, LED landscape lighting systems are not worth installing in Minnesota.