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Let’s Talk About Electrical Panels!

July 15th, 2020 Comments off

Is Your Home Electrical Panel Dangerous? Check Your Panel for Discontinued Breakers or Brands

Pushmatic Breaker Panel

What is a Pushmatic Home Electrical Panel?

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. 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.

 

How to tell if you have Pushmatic Breakers:

Take a look at your breakers… Can you flip your breakers left and right or are they buttons that you must “push” to activate or deactivate? If you have “push” button breakers you have a Pushmatic Electrical Panel! These breakers are now obsolete and replacement circuit breakers are hard to find and 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.

Besides just the Pushmatic brand there are also other outdated and unsafe electrical panels that you should be on the lookout for in your home:

    • Zinsco Panels: Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels were popular electrical panels installed in homes throughout the 1970’s. Zinsco is now defunct, but many homes still have these panels.

Why they’re unsafe: The circuit breakers inside many Zinsco panels melt to the main ‘bus bar’. This means the breaker can’t ever trip, even when there’s a short or overloaded circuit. So if there ever is a short or other problems, the surge of power melts wires and starts fires in your home.

    • Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels: For a long time (1950s-1980s) Federal Pacific Electric was one of the most popular manufacturers of electrical panels in the United States. And they were installed in millions of homes. But these panels are extremely unsafe.

Why they’re unsafe: FPE electric panels’ circuit breakers fail to trip when they should (when there’s a short circuit or circuit overload). This problem has lead to             thousands of fires across the United States. There are also many reports that FPE circuits in the off position still send power to the circuit. This can cause electrocution   when working on a circuit you believe to be off.

    • Fuse box: Fuse boxes are old electrical panels that use fuses instead of circuit breakers to protect your wires from becoming overloaded. When a circuit draws too much electricity, the fuse burns out and must be replaced.

Why they’re unsafe: Fuses aren’t inherently unsafe. They work just like circuit breakers (except they can’t be reset and must be replaced.) However, most fuse boxes in homes today are unsafe because they’ve been modified to try to serve today’s energy demands.

 

Time for an upgrade?

Check out this before and after of a panel upgrade we did this week! The A-Team is happy to set up a time to visit and inspect your home 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! Contact us today at Artisan Electric or call us at 765-414-3913 and let our licensed pros do a free site assessment.

 

Artisan Electric Adds CRM System

June 25th, 2020 Comments off

Moving Artisan Electric Forward in Challenging Times

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Artisan Electric, like all small businesses, has had to adapt and find new ways to respond to our clients in a year that has been difficult and unpredictable.  The impact of COVID-19 has shaken us all and provided many small businesses with a wakeup call. 

At Artisan Electric we decided to continue to make improvements and add processes to meet head on the challenges of a changing world.  These changes will ensure we continue to position ourselves to meet our client’s needs and those of our Artisan Electric team.

Lilly Gastineau

Adding to Our Customer Service Team

Artisan Electric has improved and streamlined our customer service operations by adding a full time office manager, Lilly Gastineau, and a new fully integrated paperless customer relations (CRM) system.  These were two big first quarter goals and we are over the moon with the progress and professionalism Lilly has added to our team, and the efficiency our new CRM has provided.

Gone Paperless

Artisan Electric has gone paperless, with our team members all managing their appointments and projects with IPads from the field.  Our new system allows us to communicate with our customer via email and text with automated “ON MY WAY,” “START”

and “FINISHED” messages.  With the click of a button our clients will now be able to see who their technician or estimator is and know when they are on their way.

Anywhere our technicians go they are connected.

Clients can now call us, text us, or contact us thru the web to schedule an appointment for both estimates and service calls. Within a few seconds they will receive an email or text containing detailed appointment information.  Estimates and bid work can now be approved electronically and are much easier to modify and revise.  Our goal is to provide same day estimates for smaller projects, and in some cases before leaving the appointment.

Transparency of Services and Invoicing

We now offer improved payment solutions and simplified “in-field” credit card processing when we complete a job.  We can also include before and after pictures of your project within minutes of your technician leaving.  We also log and track all elements of the work performed in the CRM so that information is available electronically both in the field and in the office for our team to reference. We value the ability to easily communicate with our clients and the ability to develop transparency regarding the completion of the services we provide and how they are invoiced.

Ongoing Commitment to Bettering Ourselves

All of this adds up to our continued commitment to bettering ourselves and the services we offer to our customers.  After 16 years of business Artisan Electric is one of the most respected and reviewed electrical contractors in Tippecanoe County on Angie’s List (67 reviews), on Facebook (30 reviews), and on Google (42 reviews).

Please take a moment to see what people have to say about us.  Just click on the icon below. It is one thing to commit to being good at your trade, it is another when your clients and customers are also willing to help say it, too.

 

 

 

 

Thank you all so much for the continued trust as we grow and improve.

Chris Voglund and the A-Team at Artisan Electric

Electrical Contractor Lafayette Indiana

February 28th, 2020 Comments off

Now’s the Time to Line Up an Electrical Contractor

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electrical contractorThis is the time of year that contractors are being lined up to work on spring and summer projects.  With all the building currently being done in our area, it is not easy to find an electrical contractor.

And since every project typically includes some electrical work, it is important to get on a reliable and qualified electrical contractor’s schedule as soon as possible.

Ask These Questions Before Hiring an Electrical Contractor

There are a lot of individuals and companies that offer to do electrical work.  In choosing which one is best suited to install a new electrical service; wire your home or business; or perform service calls and repairs; you’ll want to ask the following questions.

Do they hold the correct license(s) for the location? Are they up-to-date on code requirements?
A license is your guarantee that the contractor has completed the necessary courses and practical work to perform the job safely and correctly.  Failure to adhere to code and license requirements could mean additional costs down the road to re-do a non-compliant job.

What type of training have they received?
Degreed journeyman electricians, who have completed a 4 or 5 year certified apprenticeship program, have the field experience and education to provide top level services and deal with the unforeseen in a professional manor.

Are they bonded and insured?
Check with the City Engineers Office in the town or county where you live to determine if the trade you are researching requires a state license, and if the specific contractor you are researching is bonded with the city or county they are working in.

Hiring electrical contractorBe sure your contractor carries their own workers’ comp insurance. Ask to see copies of current policies and make sure they have not expired. Make no mistake, if an electrician is injured on the job, it will come back on the homeowner’s insurance policy if the contractor doesn’t carry workers’ comp insurance.

Always ask that a COI (certificate of insurance) be sent directly to you from their agent!

Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau or well-reviewed on Angie’s List?
The Better Business Bureau has an ever growing data base of information on contractors – you can find out a lot from their website or a phone call.  Angie’s List is a great resource to find out about first-hand experiences other customers have had with a contractor.

Does their company do background checks?
Not all electrical contractors perform background checks. In this day and age it is important to know who you are hiring and letting into your place of business or home.

Is their estimate clear and in writing?
A proper estimate for work should be fully itemized, provide adequate details and a scope of work, outline the terms and obligations of all parties, and always be in writing.  It should be clear what is and what is not going to be done for the dollars you are about to spend.

Will they provide full disclosure?
If you feel uncertain about an initial estimate ask the contractor to provide a schedule of values.  This is a document used to break down and track all job costs, including % mark up of material and profit.  A good contractor should be willing to share this information with you up front.

Ask for recommendations and references.
Talking with someone you trust, who has worked closely with an electrician, can give you valuable insight into what you can expect in service and workmanship. If you cannot get a recommendation then ask the electrician for references.  Contact the references to learn firsthand about their experience with the contractor.  You can also review our 7 Guiding Principles.

Ask a Pro logoWe’ll Be Happy to Answer Your Questions

Talk to us about your next project and we’ll be happy to answer all your questions. We’ll follow up with one of our licensed pros providing an estimate on any electrical work you wish done.

Contact us today at ASK A PRO or give us a call at 765-414-3913.