Archive

Author Archive

Choosing a Contractor

May 24th, 2019 No comments

When to Use a Contractor, or Tackle the Project Yourself
.

Deciding to hire a contractor or do a project yourself depends on a long list of considerations. The first centers on your own DIY skills and comfort level in taking on a given task. 

If you can competently do the work yourself then you can typically save a lot of money in exchange for your time.  Using a professional contractor normally comes with less hassle, faster results, safety, and professional-quality work. 

Why Use a Contractor?

electrical contractor

There are a number of reasons to use a contractor.

When determining whether to do a project yourself or hire it out here are a few reasons for choosing a professional to do the difficult jobs.

      • It’s Dangerous. If the job involves electricity, using power tools, or climbing tall ladders or up on the roof of your home, it could lead to significant injury if an accident or mistakes are made.Jobs requiring technical know-how are ones you’ll want done by a contractor for safety reasons.
      • Mistakes Could Be Costly. Even when there are no safety issues involved, paying extra for a professional is often a good decision. Not doing the job properly initially can lead to having to call in a professional later to correct your mistakes.  This can lead to paying for the same job twice.
      • It Could Hurt Your Home’s Value. Work in a home that does not look well done can turn off future buyers and detract from the value of your home.  Home buyers are not looking for homes where they have to come in and redo slipshod work.
      • It Requires a Permit.  One indication that a job is probably too complicated for a DIY project is that it requires a building permit.  Permits typically call for inspections that determine if the work was done safely and correctly.

All these advantages explain why so many homeowners ultimately decide to hire a professional, despite the higher cost.

How to Choose a Contractor                    

signing contract

Do your due diligence before signing any contract with a contractor.

Finding the right contractor for your home improvement project takes a little effort and diligence.

  • Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations, and get quotes from at least three contractors, asking not only about their fees but also about their experience with this type of work.
  • Do a little homework on all the contractors, checking their ratings with the Better Business Bureau and making sure their licenses and insurance are up-to-date.
  • Review the checklist found at Selecting the Right Contractor and then make an informed choice, balancing the contractors’ quoted prices against the quality of the work you can expect from them.

Artisan Electric is Happy to Help

If your home improvement project involves electrical work, Artisan Electric would be happy to speak with you.  We can also help you assess your total project and provide suggestions on how to get started.

 

Project Done Home Pre-Sale Services

April 30th, 2019 No comments

How Long is Your Home’s Pre-Sale Checklist?

.
Selling your home is always a big project.  Finding a real estate agent, fixing the house up, making arrangements for a move, all take a great deal of time and energy.  But in order for the sale to go smoothly all these things must be done.

home for sale sign

Pre-Sale Home Inspection Highly Recommended
Realtors will tell you there are certain things that help a house sell more quickly.  One of these is making sure that there are no major problems with your home.  Getting a home inspection prior to putting your home on the market is highly recommended.

A home inspection will assess the condition of your HVAC system, plumbing, electrical service, foundation, roof and other aspects of your home that could cause a potential buyer to reconsider.  If a home has a concern in any of these areas, it will need to be addressed.

Take Care of the Little Things
Realtors will also tell you a well maintained home will sell faster and for a higher price.  Addressing a number of less costly tasks can add to the appeal of a home.  These can include:

Making Your Home Attractive from the Outside
Sprucing up your front door and porch including painting the door, clearing debris and clutter from the walkway and yard, adding some colorful potted plants, mowing the lawn and pruning hedges all help.  Fix broken screens, doorbells, roof tiles, shingles and outdoor lighting in order to make a good first impression.

man doing home repairsFix the Small Stuff Inside the Home
Repair or replace broken or outdated hardware throughout your home.  Install new door handles, faucets, towel bars and curtain rods where needed.  New hardware in the bathroom, kitchen and on windows and doors also improves functionality and safety.  Make sure caulking around tubs, sinks and windows looks fresh and seals any gaps.

Update Older Light Fixtures
Older light fixtures often can date the look of a room. Replace decorative light fixtures with cleaner, more contemporary styles.  Install new bulbs with the appropriate lighting for specific areas of your home.

Long and Daunting
Often your home’s pre-sale checklist of tasks can seem long and daunting.  To keep the stress levels down realtors will often suggest having professionals do some of these repairs or upgrades.  Having these tasks done well and quickly can pay dividends when potential buyers walk through your home.

Helping Hand Services badgeJust the Team for the Job
Project Done is the local resource for taking on a number of repair projects around your home.  This can include addressing needed repairs found in a home inspection report, handling jobs that require skilled labor, and doing outdoor maintenance and clean up.

Let Project Done take care of your maintenance checklist.  This will allow you to concentrate on all the other items that must be accomplished in order to sell your house and move into your new home.

 

EMAIL: info@projectdone4u.com
PHONE: 765-464-9184
WEB: http://projectdone4u.com/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/projectdone4u

Pushmatic Breakers and Panels

April 23rd, 2019 No comments

How can I tell if my electrical panel uses Pushmatic circuit breakers?
.

The Pushmatic panel board was a widely used circuit breaker panel installed in homes built between 1950 and 1980. This is a distinctive panel because it is the only electrical panel brand that does not have switches that flip left and right. Instead, the breakers are rectangular buttons you must “push” to activate or deactivate.

pushmatic breaker box


Pushmatic breakers have a distinctive design.

Obsolete, Hard to Find Replacement Breakers

ITE Pushmatic electrical panels and circuit breakers do not have any proven design flaws that can cause a fire or shock hazard, but they are obsolete. As Pushmatic breakers age springs inside rust, corrode, and break and they become hard to trip and reset.  Some insurance companies will not insure a home with this type of panel.

Replacement circuit breakers are hard to find and when you can, they are expensive.  The design of these old electrical panels also makes it impossible to add new circuits and loads to the already limited spaces in the panel.

Not Built for Today’s Electrical Loads

working on electrical panel

A qualified electrician can update your electrical panel if needed.

Houses built 50 or more years ago usually have 60 or 100 amp services and the load placed on these older components often exceeds their design capacity.

Many houses built before 1970 did not have central air conditioning, microwaves and dishwashers. Refrigerators were 18 cubic feet and no one had more than one television set.  Fast forward to today’s electrical load needs and we find 200 amp service is the most common with larger homes requiring 300 or 400 amp services.

What are Your Options?

Artisan Electric is happy to set up a time to visit and inspect your home’s or business’s electrical panel and service.  If it still uses Pushmatic breakers then we’ll provide you with options to replace this obsolete system.  Just give us a call at 765-414-3913.

Knob and Tube Wiring

March 22nd, 2019 No comments

Is Knob and Tube Wiring Safe?

.
For those who relish the grandeur and charm of an historic home built in the 1950’s or earlier there is the possibility of your home having knob and tube wiring.  The older the home, the more likely this will be.   Knob and tube wiring was a common wiring method used beginning in the 1870’s to the late 1940’s.

knob-and-tube wiring

Knob and tube wiring must meet specific NEC standards to be used in a home today.

Knob and Tube wiring is not inherently dangerous.

The dangers from this form of wiring arise from its age, failing insulation, improper modifications, and situations where building insulation covers the wires.  It has no ground wire and thus cannot service any three-pronged appliances or outlets.

NEC code and most local jurisdictions do not specifically say that knob and tube wiring is illegal, however there are very specific requirements if it is to be left installed and in use (NEC 2008 – article 394). Knob and tube wiring is only rated to be used in free air, uninsulated spaces.  It is also only rated for a load of 15 amps.  Many inspection jurisdictions will now require it to be removed for a permitted project or remodel.

What Should I do if I have Knob and Tube wiring in my home?

Realistically, complete replacement of the old wiring is the best option. The presence of knob and tube electrical wiring means the house was probably built 60 to 100+ years ago when this was the only wiring method available.

Demands on a home’s electrical system have increased significantly over time and old wiring cannot safely and reliably handle the electrical requirements of today’s lighting, appliances, and electronics.

rewiring old house that had knob and tube wiring

Rewiring a home that has knob and tube wiring will make it safer and more attractive to future buyers.

How much does it cost to replace Knob and Tube wiring?

If you decide to replace knob and tube wiring in your home, hire a professional electrician for the job.  Expect to pay around $10,000 to $20,000 to rewire a 1,500 to 3,000 square foot home.

Keep in mind that the resale value of your home will increase after this work is completed, so not only is your home safer for you and your family, your home is also now more desirable to potential future buyers.

How does Knob and Tube wiring affect insurance rates?

Insurance companies are wary of homes with knob and tube wiring and view them as a potential safety hazard, and therefore a claim waiting to happen. Premiums for policies for these homes can be high.  Most insurance companies will require an inspection by a certified electrical contractor.  If unsafe conditions are found, the insurance company will require the knob and tube wiring to be completely replaced prior to issuing or renewing a policy.  Many insurance companies will no longer insure homes with knob and tube wiring due to the risk.

Artisan Electric logoQuestions?

If you have questions regarding knob and tube wiring or need someone to inspect your home’s wiring, one of Artisan’s experienced electricians will be happy to arrange a time to stop by. Just give us a call at 765-414-3913.

Project Done Helping Hand Services

March 6th, 2019 No comments

Project Done, Lafayette, IN

Project Done Services

.
Let PROJECT DONE Take On Your Home Projects

.
The PROJECT DONE team does home improvements, light carpentry, general repairs and small projects.

 

  • Helping Hand Services badgeGeneral repairs of all kinds
  • Clean ups and punch lists
  • Small project home improvements
  • The preverbal “honey do” list
  • Light carpentry, painting, and cosmetic work
  • Reality inspection report repairs
  • Deck and fence repairs
  • Gutter cleaning
  • The dreaded “garage and basement” clean out and organization
  • Shelving and closet fix ups
  • Faucet and toilet repairs
  • Maintenance for income properties
  • Project management and finding you the right trusted team for work out of our scope
  • Yard clean up and mulch work
  • Anything you may need a skilled hand with around your home or business
  • We will be the answer to the question “who do I call”.

It’s Easy to Get a PROJECT DONE
In order to ensure that your project is done to your satisfaction, we recommend taking the following steps.

  • Project Done truckCompile your list of projects
  • Contact Us
  • Conduct a walk through (no charge)
  • Review your list and answer questions
  • Outline plan for each repair
  • Review pricing with our standardized rates
  • Schedule a time to get started

...and that is how you get a PROJECT DONE!     

What Does It Cost?
We are committed to doing ethical business and quality work for a fair price. We are completely transparent with our pricing, so there are no surprises.  Our published pricing and terms can be found at http://projectdone4u.com/.

Project Done logoEMAIL: info@projectdone4u.com
PHONE: 765-464-9184
WEB: http://projectdone4u.com/
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/projectdone4u

 

Line Up a Contractor Now for Spring Projects

February 20th, 2019 No comments

Don’t Wait to Get Started On Your Spring To Do List!

.
Spring is right around the corner and many of us already have a list of things we’d like to get done around our homes or businesses.

To Do ListIf you have plans to add a deck, sun room, new outdoor or indoor lighting or even remodel some part of your home or office, now is the time to start the planning process and line up your contractors.

The local construction economy is very strong.  The area’s best contractors are already booking well into spring and summer; some are even booking into fall!  To get on their schedules, you’ll want to speak with them soon.

8 Good Reasons to Get Started Today

Getting started as soon as possible will allow for adequate time to plan the project thoroughly and avoid mistakes that come from “rushing” the planning process.

Depending on the scope of your project this will also allow you to line up all the necessary people that will be involved.

1. Good planning makes for good results. “Winging it” at the last minute is never a pleasant experience and often results in mistakes and low satisfaction with the end results.

electricians tool belt2. Getting a head start saves money, reduces stress levels, and most importantly, ensures the end result will be more to your satisfaction.

3. By not rushing through the early stages of a project, there is more time to evaluate different options and avoid project delays, cost overruns, and frustration from all those involved.

4. For larger projects that require architectural plans and permitting, selecting a good General Contractor to help with the process is essential to success. This takes time.

5. Having some extra time allows you to consider different choices of contractors, not just having to take the first one that is available.

6. Staying on budget is always a challenge with any project, so having time to evaluate alternative approaches can minimize cost overruns and schedule delays.

7. You will save money by getting bids now, rather than when everyone is booked solid during the height of the construction season – often as much as 25%.

8. Arranging dates and schedules early will give you the greatest flexibility and allow time for some contingencies to handle unforeseen problems and delays.

Artisan Electric logoContact Us With Your Questions

We’ll be happy to point you in the right direction to get your next project up and running … the sooner the better. Let us help you turn a good project into a great project.

Contact us today at Artisan Electric or give us a call at 765-414-3913.

Arranging for a Contractor to do Home Improvements

January 29th, 2019 No comments

Ready to Sell Your Home?  Line Up a Contractor Now!

.
Home For Sale Real Estate SignIf you are planning to sell your home, spring is the prime time to put your house on the market. 

To get a leg up on the local competition there are a few things that every homeowner can do to make their home more attractive to potential buyers. 

Pre-Sale Inspection
If you have been in your home for a while, and especially if it is an older home, you should consider arranging for a “pre-sale inspection” using a qualified home inspector.  The cost is minimal to get a detailed report that will identify any significant problems with your HVAC system, electrical system, plumbing, foundation and water in your basement or crawlspace.

Why you ask should I find out about these problems now?  Because any serious buyer is going to have the home inspected.   If the problem is significant enough, like a code violation, it could derail your potential sale.  Or at a minimum, future buyers will want you to fix the problem, or lower your asking price to cover the cost of them making the repairs.

Pre sale home inspectionRecommended Updates
Making a good first impression and having your home appear ready for a new family to move in is important when buyers visit your home.  Addressing the items below will go a long way in making a favorable impression.

  1. Change dated light fixtures.
  2. Update older ceiling fans or install ceiling fans in bedrooms. They add value to your home.
  3. Install new porch and outside lights.
  4. Paint old kitchen cabinets and install updated hardware.
  5. Replace worn or stained carpeting.
  6. Repaint dark or marred walls with neutral paint—not
  7. Replace old drapes and window coverings.
  8. Replace broken window glass.
  9. Replace the roof if necessary. Most buyers are reluctant to purchase a home if the roof needs replaced.
  10. Update your outdoor landscaping.

home contractor

Now’s the Time to Line Up a Contractor
In the Greater Lafayette area the housing market is projected to remain strong in 2019.  If you need work done that requires a contractor, the sooner you line one up, the sooner the work will be completed.  For those looking to put your home on the market in the spring, NOW is the time to find someone to do the work you want done.

Artisan Electric is happy to help on any upgrades or projects requiring an electrician.  This can involve upgrading to a higher capacity electrical service to installing new lighting both inside and outside your home.

Supplemental Heating Options for Your Home

November 26th, 2018 No comments

10 Ways to Eliminate Cold Areas in Your Home

man in cold home.
Every home seems to have places in it that just seem colder than the rest of the house.  Areas in a room, or a room itself, just stay cold when the temperatures outside drop.This can be particularly true in older homes. 

So what can be done to warm up these areas?  You can turn the thermostat up to a level that the cold areas get comfortable, while the rest of the house becomes unbearably warm, or you can try some of the suggestions below.

First Things First
There are a few initial things to check on before you start spending money on additional heat sources.

  1. Check to see if the heat registers are open or blocked. Make sure furniture, rugs or drapes aren’t blocking the flow of warm air into the room.
  2. Are the dampers in your ductwork adjusted correctly? Look for handles and markings on the ductwork such as ‘summer’ and ‘winter.’  Set the damper handle parallel to the duct line for maximum airflow.
  3. When was the last time your furnace filter was replaced? Restricted airflow through your furnace can prevent warm air from reaching all parts of your home.
  4. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan. If you have a ceiling fan in a cooler room, simply switch the direction of your fan so that the warmer air near the ceiling is pushed down.   A low setting is all you need to keep the warm air flowing.

What to do next.
If the simple things don’t work well enough, the next options are to look at supplemental heat sources.

Toe-kick heaters fit under cabinets.

Toe-kick heaters fit under cabinets.

Portable Space Heaters
Space heaters are the easiest means of providing additional heat to a room.  They come in different sizes and heating capacities, so finding one that works for you should not be hard.

But space heaters have their drawbacks.  They can burn the fingers of curious kids, and they’re often unattractive obstacles.  Larger models take up a lot of floor space and may overload an electrical circuit. If not used carefully, they can become a fire hazard.  Go to this link to read more on Space Heater Safety.

Electric Baseboard or Wall Mount Heaters
Installing baseboard heating or wall mount electric heaters allows you to heat an entire room or specific zones.  These units control the temperatures in a room separately from the rest of the house and come in sleek, compact designs.

Electric Toe-Kick Heaters
Electric toe-kick heaters with blowers fit into the hollow space under kitchen cabinets, stair treads and vanities.  This can be a good solution for a bathroom or kitchen where chilly feet are the main complaint.

duct booster fan

Duct-booster fans increase air flow into a room.

Duct-Booster Fans
For homes with forced air heat, duct booster fans can increase the flow of warm air through your ducts into a cooler room. In-line duct booster fans fit inside standard-size metal ducts.

Cove Heaters
Cove heaters mount inconspicuously along the wall near the ceiling.  For a bedroom or TV room, cove heaters can be a great choice. These units use radiant panels that emit heat downward to warm occupants directly instead of heating the air. They work well in rooms where drapes and furniture make baseboard heaters inconvenient.

cove heaters

Cove heaters work well in bedrooms and family rooms.

Electric Floor Heat
If you are willing to replace flooring, electric floor heat will do a great job of heating a kitchen or bathroom.  Under-tile radiant systems are still the most common, but many companies offer systems that work equally well beneath laminate, carpet and engineered hardwood floors.

Radiant Ceiling Panels
Radiant ceiling panels heat the occupants of a room from above. These panels mount on the ceiling and provide ‘spot heat’ to people in a specific area.  Mounted directly above a work table or desk, someone can work comfortably without having to heat the entire room.

Professional Installation Required
Most of these options to provide supplemental heat to a room or area in your home will require a professional to install them.  In almost all cases additional wiring is needed requiring an electrician. Carpentry skills may also be needed if you are replacing flooring or cutting holes in walls.

Artisan Electric logoA Comfortable Home Throughout
Having a home that is comfort throughout allows you to take advantage of all the charm and utility of your home.  So in the end deciding how best to add to your home’s comfort will be worth it.

Artisan Electric or Project Done can be help in reviewing your options and with installation support of any of these supplemental heating options.

Contact us today at Artisan Electric or give us a call at 765-414-3913 and we’ll answer any questions you may have.

Prep Your Outdoor Lighting, Signs and Home for Winter

October 26th, 2018 No comments

Winter is Coming.
When cold weather arrives no one likes working on outdoor electrical problems. Frozen fixtures and ground make parking lot lights, wall packs, motion detector lights, landscape lighting, and any outdoor wiring, motors, and electrical panels extra difficult and more expensive to service.

Now is the time to have outdoor electrical maintenance done

Thermometer showing 0 degrees

Scheduled maintenance is always more cost effective than emergency or unplanned repair work.  There are preventive maintenance steps you can take in the fall that will help eliminate potential problems when your electrical usage increases during the winter months. Installing fresh light bulbs and inspecting outdoor electrical wiring before winter arrives is money well spent.

Businesses

  • Outdoor lights including parking lot lights, and hard to reach pole lights, wall packs and security lighting should be inspected.
  • Signage on commercial buildings can be very difficult and costly to service once it freezes up. When this occurs we often cannot get the fixtures apart to work on them.
  • Panels and service equipment  The summer cooling season and the big electrical loads from AC units place heavy stress on electrical systems. The same thing occurs at peak heating season when the below zero temps set in. It is a good idea to have your outside electrical service, meter box, and electrical panel board “the breaker box” inspected and all the wiring connections and breaker terminals tightened on a regular basis. Manufacturers recommend this be done annually.

Home Owners

  • Landscape lights after a summer of heavy use many landscape lighting systems have some fixtures and lamps that need repair. These get very hard to service once the ground freezes. If there are in-ground buried wiring issues sometimes we have to wait for spring.
  • Exterior lighting on homes is always more expensive to service outdoor lighting in the winter time – especially those hard to reach fixture locations and pesky motion sensor lights.  Lights that don’t work become much more noticeable and inconvenient as our days grow shorter.
  • Outdoor spa and hot tub electric circuits that heat the water in your spa or hot tub should be checked to avoid electrical equipment failure that might lead to a costly freeze up of the unit.
  • Portable space heaters are commonly used to provide additional heat to help keep rooms comfortable.  We see this frequently in older historic homes.  Space heaters draw a lot of current and many older electrical circuits are not rated for this kind of use.  If you are using portable heaters you need to know that the circuit and electrical outlet you are using is correctly sized and rated for the load. Never use portable heaters on extension cords, plug strips or two-prong adapters!

Artisan Electric logoExterior Electrical Maintenance
One of Artisan Electric’s certified technicians would be happy to come out and provide an estimate on any electrical maintenance work you wish done. Contact us today at Artisan Electric or give us a call at 765-414-3913 and we’ll answer any questions you may have.

 

Don’t Ignore “Concerns” on a Home Inspection Report

October 2nd, 2018 No comments

Home InspectionWhen considering the purchase of a home a potential buyer will receive a real estate disclosure that documents the seller’s knowledge of the property. 

This disclosure is not the same thing as an independent third party home inspection.  A home inspection is more extensive and may reveal defects that the seller may not have been aware of.

A Home’s Overall Condition
A home buyer should always do a full property inspection before moving forward with a purchase. A home inspection is an inexpensive way to discover the overall condition of a home.  The inspector checks all systems and components from the roof to the basement. It will cover features of the house such as the electrical wiring, plumbing, roofing, insulation, as well as structural features of the home.  Home inspections may often reveal problems with a home that could be pricey to fix.

inspecting electrical box

Make sure there are no surprises with your home’s wiring.

Once the inspection is completed, the home inspector will provide the buyer with a report suggesting any improvements or repairs deemed necessary to bring the home up to current standards.

If There Are Concerns
Remember, inspectors can’t see through walls or ceilings. They can only inspect what they have access to.  If home inspector says, “they have concerns,” pay attention.  This means that based on what they could observe, they may have seen evidence or suspect a home has mold, termites, asbestos or old wiring.  If this is the case it’s a good idea to bring in a specialist to investigate just how extensive a problem it is within the home, and how much it might cost to fix it.

We Can Help With Old Wiring
If you’re looking at a home that has pre-1960 “knob and tube” style electrical wiring, it does not meet code, and the home’s entire electrical system will need to be replaced.  Old wiring like knob and tube is a huge fire hazard, so it has to be replaced.  Unfortunately, it can cost several thousand dollars to rewire an old home.

If a report indicates a rodent problem, a thorough inspection of the house’s wiring is recommended.  Pests can cause serious harm to electrical systems, exposing wires which can lead to electrical fires, shocks, and short circuits.

ArtisanElectricBW name onlyNo One Likes Surprises
Getting a home inspection and, if needed, a more extensive inspection from a specialist, is a small price to pay to avoid the costly mistake of purchasing a property in need of major repairs.

If you have questions concerning your electrical service or wiring, please give Artisan Electric a call at 765-414-3913.  We have extensive experience in working on older homes and their electrical systems.