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SMART Home Device Integration

November 22nd, 2019 Comments off

How To Make Your Home Smarter & More User Friendly

Just about anything that runs on electricity can be automated to make your home smarter. With so many options available with today’s technology, the first step is to determine what you want to accomplish.

Connect your entertainment, lighting, climate and security devices into one singular hub … like your phone.

Do you want to be able to monitor packages left at your front door; control your thermostat from outside the home; or alter light levels and play music throughout your home?

Once you outline your wish list obtaining the specific products and having someone install them will go much more smoothly.

Building, Renovating or Just Adding to Your Existing Home?

The perfect time to install home automation technology is during the building or renovating process. The most advanced systems often require wiring and other structural considerations. But with all of today’s SMART products connected via the internet, many home automation projects can still be implemented in existing homes with little or no physical changes needed.

Integrating Home Automation Systems

The goal for many home owners is to integrate their home automation devices so they can sync their entertainment, lighting, climate and security devices into one singular hub.  This lets the owner more easily control several devices and monitor usage and control settings – even if they’re not at home.

Popular Home Automation Applications

Lighting Control
Smart light bulbs allow you to set the mood and dim lights remotely from your phone or control hub (i.e. Alexa).  Through verbal instructions lights can be turned on and off, and a home’s lighting can be programmed to save electricity.

Home Security
SMART home security systems allow you to monitor your home’s door locks, lights and security cameras remotely. They can also communicate with visitors via the built-in microphone and two-way talk. Cameras can also monitor the inside of your home when you are away. These devices send alerts to your phone when someone comes to your door – great for keeping track of packages, or to detect unexpected activity.

Smart Home Entertainment center

SMART television and sound systems paired with control hubs can provide enhanced viewing and listening experiences.

Environmental Control
Your heating and cooling system can be programmed to turn on/off or up/down automatically at certain times or temperatures.  Monitoring and setting changes can be done from your phone or voice hub.  This approach can provide more timely adjustments to your HVAC system and save energy and money in the long run.

Entertainment Systems
SMART television and sound systems paired with control hubs can provide enhanced viewing and listening experiences.  Streaming services offer multiple options of video and music content that can be accessed and managed through centralized control devices.

Professional Assistance Normally Required

Designing and installing home automation systems including lighting, security, environmental and entertainment systems requires a degree of expertise.  Understanding where to locate the devices, how to install and wire them, and programming them to work together may come easier to some than others.

For those without a tech background, finding a home automation contractor to plan and install your devices will ensure all the pieces work well together.

 

 

 

Labor Day Celebration

August 28th, 2019 Comments off

An Annual Celebration of American Labor

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Worker with an American flag

The American Labor movement grew into prominence in the late 1800’s as workers organized to gain better and safer working conditions, higher wages, and an eight hour work day.  They also sought to eliminate child labor and abusive working environments.

On Labor Day we honor the American worker who, with dignity and pride, continues to contribute to the prosperity of our country.

5 Lesser Known Facts about Labor Day

Originating during one of America’s labor history’s most tumultuous periods, Labor Day has become an annual celebration of workers and their achievements.  Here are some little known facts about this annual holiday that celebrates the “dignity of the American worker”.

Who gets credit for the creation of Labor Day is unclear.

Maguire and McGuire Labor Day foundersLegend has it that Peter McGuire proclaimed his plan to honor all workers with a parade through New York City in May 1882.  But Matthew Maguire, another union worker, is also credited with proposing a day off for laborers.  Varying opinions still debate the originator of this holiday.  Was it McGuire or Maquire?

New York City was the location of the first Labor Day Celebration.

There is more certainty as to when and where the first official Labor Day celebration in the U.S. took place.  It was in New York City on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882. The parade began in the front of City Hall with a couple hundred participants, but as the parade wound its way through the city over 10,000 men and women joined in.

Why did Congress designate the first Monday in September as Labor Day?

In 1884, the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions declared that by May 1, 1886, all employers institute an eight-hour workday.  (May 1 is recognized as International Workers’ Day.)

Labor Day Parade 1882

The first Labor Day celebration and parade was held in New York City in 1882.

When that proclamation failed to take place, workers moved to strike, sparking the brutal Haymarket Riot in Chicago.  To avoid any association with these riots, in 1894 President Grover Cleveland followed the lead of several states and designated the first Monday in September the official holiday for laborers.

Oregon was the first state to legally establish Labor Day.

Oregon on Feb. 21, 1887 passed a law declaring the first Saturday in June, Labor Day, a state holiday giving the state’s workers a designated day off.  Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York each made Labor Day an official holiday in 1887, but placed it on a week day, giving workers the extra-long weekend.

Labor Day had its beginning in Canada.

The first worker parades occurred in 1872 following labor disputes in Toronto.  Soon after, anti–labor union laws were repealed.  In 1882 union activist Peter McGuire, whom some call the founder of our American Labor Day, spoke at a Canadian labor festival and liked the event so well that he proposed the idea of a workers’ national holiday to a New York labor union later that same year.

Enjoy Your Labor Day

Regardless of how you celebrate this long weekend, we encourage you to remember the reason for this holiday and be safe in your travels.

 

Frozen Gutters & Down Spouts

February 19th, 2014 No comments

It has been a snowy icy winter here in the Midwest – reminding us just how mild the last few winters have been.  With changing weather patterns we seem to be heading back into a cycle of heavy winters and can expect to see more of the same.

With the heavy snow and ice build up this season we have seen more ice damming and gutter related roof leaks than ever before.  It is not a problem that comes up often – but when it does it can flood out a building very quickly from the roof down, and usually happens without much warning.  Often times we see that hard-to-reach icy gutter jams cause rot and roof damage over the course of years leading up to roof failure that is costly and very hard to fix in the winter / spring months when the water leaks finally present themselves.

ice on gutters

ice on gutters

There is a quality solution to this problem – commonly know as gutter tape, freeze tape, or heat tape.  The pro commercial version of these systems are installed in areas to be controlled and kept from freezing.  The systems are self-regulating and need to be GFCI protected, usually installed on dedicated circuits.  The systems are custom fabricated to fit each install and are the only truly effective way to address the situation and keep gutters, downspouts, and flat roof leading edges flowing correctly and the water shed where you want it.

We use the IceStop System thru our vendor rep Kirby Risk Supply.

Freeze tape picture

If you have questions about these systems we would be happy to help.  Just let us now your needs here.

The War Room Makers – Audio & Video Technology Specialist

November 22nd, 2013 No comments

Why us you ask?  Here is a little info about what our Audio / Video / Technology team brings to the table.

Mark Baitinger is the owner of Sound Lab:  Sound Lab is a professional custom electronics corporation founded by Mark in 1989.  Specializing in competitively priced System Design, Consulting, Retail Sales, Installation and Service, Sound Lab has been providing quality Audio/Video solutions for a wide range of large and small residential and commercial projects throughout Central Indiana.  In addition to his extensive background, certifications, and training in the A/V world, Mark is a Contacta affiliated authorized dealer and is advanced hearing loop trained.

Chris Voglund is the owner of Artisan Electric:  Artisan Electric was founded in 2004 by Chris, after 15 years of previous electrical contracting experience.  Specialists in residential, commercial, and industrial electrical contracting as well as voice, data, and audio solutions.  Chris is a degreed Journeyman Electrician, Leviton Network Systems certified installer, and has an extensive background in electrical service, live audio, sound reinforcement, recording, and performance space planning.

Profound Technology Group:  Our technology partner, Profound Technologies, is recognized as a world leader in the AV integration Industry – specializing in Crestron solution systems and programming. Combining complex and advanced audio video communication systems with custom programming to make simple to use, enjoyable end-use solutions.  

Paired together our companies provide a combined 100+ years of electrical, tech integration, and A/V experience – making us a uniquely qualified team for today’s demanding tech based design, project management, and installation services.  Couple that with our passion for A/V and our professional reputations we represent one of Indiana’s best teams for integration projects of all sizes.

 Mark and Chris joint project logo

 

Generator Systems and Emergency Power

November 20th, 2013 No comments

Who do you know that got spooked by this recent line of storms and the related power outages?

The reality is that with the continued deterioration or our aging power grids, line worker cut backs and under staffed utility providers, and the rapid increase in dramatic weather events these situations are going to become more common place.

Artisan Electric can help with mobile and back up power solutions, using certified and licensed journeyman electricians, licensed plumbers (for the gas line work) and the proven performance and 24 HOUR EMERGENCY SERVICE that comes with the KOHLER product line.

Artisan Electric is an approved vendor of Kohler Generator Systems thru Buckeye Power Sales.  We have the full package of solution, design, installation, warranty, and service that is second to none in the area.  When you think back up power think Artisan Electric

gen post plog pic top

gen post blg pic bottom

Room Style Makeover Contest 2013 now live!

July 8th, 2013 No comments

The Artisan Electric 2013 Room Style Makeover contest is up and running.  This year we are looking to style out one lucky Mom with a very special $3000.00 space of her own.

room style makeover

 

Here is how it works:

  • Find us on Facebook – www.facebook.com/artisan electric
  • Like our page and go to the contest giveaway tab – here is a direct link >>>  Room Style Makover Contest
  • Watch the reveal video for last year’s contest winner
  • Follow the contest instructions and nominate a Mom for this year’s contest!

Just that easy.  Hope to see your entry come in soon.

 

6 Things to know about electrical systems and floods

April 24th, 2013 No comments

In the wake of all these Midwest floods we thought this was a relevant topic.  Many kinds of contractors get called during the aftermath of floods and water events.  Make sure they know and understand what water does to electrical systems!

(6) Things to know regarding electrical systems and water

  • If electrical service entrance equipment has been submerged it needs to be inspected, dried out, and have all the connections re-made with anti-corrosion compound.  In some cases total replacement may be the only guaranteed option for safety
  • Circuit breakers that have been exposed to direct water, extreme weather, high moisture, or active water need to be replaced, no exceptions! Circuit breakers are over current protection devices – they are the main safety device in the electrical circuit and need to work
  • Any outlet or switch that has been submerged or effected by direct water or moisture needs to be removed and replaced – water means corrosion and corrosion is the enemy of good electrical connections
  • Romex type building wire that has been submerged should be replaced.  It is nearly impossible to get it fully dried out… the plastic casing acts as a hose and retains water that over time will leak back out into the device connections and cause corrosion
  • Ground mounted lights that have been submersed can be full of water days after a flood event – these should be checked out carefully to insure safe operation when switched back on
  • Remember that electricity and water do not mix, and most electrical products are not tolerant of being submerged.  Just because it “came back on” does not mean it is safe to use or is in the same condition it was prior to being effected by water

If you have any questions let us know – we do site consults an can get you on the right path to a speedy and safe restoration.

 

How a custom home should be wired – The ARTISAN WAY!

February 10th, 2012 No comments

A little known fact in the building trades is how cheap the workmanship has really gotten.  Once upon a day – when you put your companies name on it that meant you stood behind what you did, period.  In this day and age low bid gets the job.  Sure there are some stand up exceptions to this, but for the most part the war cry of  “get it done fast and cheap” is the norm.  In that process the real loser is the homeowner, and in most cases they don’t even know it happened.

Here is one example:  most sub-contractors are only required as part of the bid process to back their work with a 1 year warranty to the builder, and most builders only offer a stock 3 to 5 year warranty on the whole project.  Frankly speaking – we think that is despicable!  Your home is likely the single  largest investment you will ever make – how is it that you can get a great warranty on a car these days but not your house?

 

 

Here are 25 reasons an Artisan Electric custom home project stands out from the rest

1)      Our jobs are run and staffed by Journeyman electricians, no exceptions!

2)      We use only quality materials and practices, no exceptions!

3)      No 15 amp – 14 gauge “cheap-o” circuits.  We use only 20 amp (or larger) rated branch conductors

4)      We only use copper buss commercial load centers and service entrance equipment

5)      We use separate circuits for each room (excluding lighting) in a home.  This avoids problems with today’s computer and electronic equipment, as well as new high-demand appliances

6)      We do not share neutrals for any of our circuits

7)      Artisan Electric is the highest rated Angie’s List contractor in a 30 mile radius of Lafayette – go take a look

8)      Arc-fault circuit breakers are used on bedroom power circuits per NEC requirements

9)      We do not use feed thru wiring practices or “stab in the back” wiring methods. All devices are pig tailed at the point of use

10)   We only use steel junction boxes with threaded ground screw connections.  Do it once, do it right!

11)   Our employees take extensive safety training (CPR, First Aid,) and OSHA safety certifications

12)   All of our employees have been thru a BAT certified 4 year electrical apprenticeship program and have testing documentation

13)   We use Hubbell 15 and 20 amp commercial rated receptacles, with dedicated 20 amp rated receptacles for all appliance loads. We only use 20 amp rated commercial GFCI outlets

14)   We put spare pipes to the garage / attic / outdoor living / and crawl spaces for future use.  It is our job to look out for your total lifespan needs

15)   We use only 1000 watt or larger rated Lutron dimmers for our projects – with CFL / LED dimmers for any unique lighting requirements

16)   All of the products we use for construction come from pro vendors – no “home store” off brand or B-Stock items are used for our installs

17)   Artisan Electric is a member of a certified recycling system, all wasted generated by us will be sorted and recycled with Resolve Earth Solutions

18)   We provided “As-Built” drawings for our projects upon completion – you will know exactly what you paid for

19)   We understand the importance of good housekeeping, our projects are cleaned daily – we won’t leave a mess for you

20)   We have the experience, expertise, professionalism, and training to handle the job – without creating stress and re-work for the other trades, project supervisors, and especially to the home owner

21)   Our bids are comprehensive, ethical, and truthful.  We provide a line item of the circuits to be used to our clients so they KNOW exactly what they are paying for and what it includes

22)   Our bids cover the items the others leave out, including options for audio, video, internet, exterior lights and audio, home theater, and smart home wiring

23)   Whole house surge protection comes standard with our bid package

24)   We are an authorized Kohler GenSet dealer.  We can provide best in generator solutions for natural gas and LP systems -including pre-wire options for future generator hook-up / smart transfer interface panels / legendary Kohler reliability and certified maintenance plans

25) A custom home wired the Artisan Electric way comes with a 10 year transferable workmanship warranty – we do it right, period!

 

The Year in Review / The Year to Come!

January 19th, 2012 No comments

2011 was an exciting year for us here at Artisan Electric, we closed out the year as our best ever!  We had growth nearing 20% for our second year in a row – and have finally slayed many of the demons that came with 2008 / 2009 crash!  We meet some very specific goals in 2011, here our a few highlights:

  • Implementing a certified recycling plan with Resolve Earth
  • Forming a partnership with Buckeye Power Sales to become a Kohler generate dealer / installer
  • Forming a partnership with Surge Assure to offer advanced residential and commercial surge protection solution
  • In depth web and social media development – hitting the 1500 click thru a month mark on our web platform (primary site / blog)
  • Attending the X.commerce / Magento web development conference in San Fransisco – this was truly an awakening
  • Developing the Monticello Electric brand and companion web site
  • Our continued involvement with the RPM Chapter of Business Networking International (now ranked number#1 in the state)
  • Working with Food Finders Food Bank and the mobile pantry program to help feed the hungry
  • Working with Dave Mason and IS Photographic to sponsor the the ISmotorsports track bike

As you can see – 2011 was a busy year full of changes and forward thinking.  We are getting pretty juiced up for where this is leading us in 2012.  We have some big changes in store to roll out this year, the most exciting of which will be a full new web site and a companion on line eCommerce store.  Our new web store will be offering a large selection of goods and service for sale as “buy now” only products (like battery backup UPS units, multi-outlet plug strips, point of use surge protection, specialty audio and video items, USB outlets, portable generators) as well as package deals on other offerings including installation and service(s).

Additionally we will be rolling out some fun new branding and graphics for the company, based on our very popular “happy outlet” design developed for us by Mineus Print and 838 Sign Co.  Here is sneak peak at where that is headed!

In closing I just want to say an honest and sincere thanks to all of the people who have helped us along the way.  Our clients and advocates, the designers and web folks that have helped us, our mentors and business community, BNI, all of you!  I have long believed that it takes a community to build a business.  A few individuals have gone over beyond that I would like to mention by name (you people ROCK!)

My amazing wife Michelle – who never fails to lend an ear and be the best mom ever (and keep me in check).  My equally amazing daughter Rosemary, Johnny Klemme (who may be one of the very best people in the world), My right hand guys Dustin Beebout and Aaron Paris – none better in town!  My bookkeeper CJ Reynolds, Dr. Di Begley, My accountant Diana Isbell, Chas and Bonnie Dela for being a second family when we had none and our very first clients! Noah Mattern and Maximumedia Design , Bill White, Steve Thalls, Aaron Zernack and Mineus Print, Inked Spot, Instant Copy, Stan Mithoefer (who has been our very best client from day one!), Javin and the Mad Men Creative gang, ALL the members of the RPM Chapter of BNI, Paul Baldwin for being Paul, Chris and Jessica Johnson – People’s Brewing Co, K. Dees Coffee, Dr. Dan and the Miracles Fitness Team, Ron Whitaker, Dave and Tara Mason, Roger and Kristy Miley, Brian Elgin, Brady Lumley, Ron Smith, Joe and Erica Wilson, Rob Handcock and the Beck’s Auto Service Team, Barry Bruce and the Mitchell Agency, Jeff Onken and The State Farm Insurance Team, The Lafayette Brewing Company, Chris and Susan X, Kelly Good, Randy Lynch, Andy and Michelle Schwindler at Outdoor RoomScapes (for being some of the best new folks we meet this year!).  I am sure there are many more… sorry if I missed you!

WE ALL COME UP TOGETHER!

 

Best Regards,

– Chris Voglund & the Artisan Electric Team

 

 

How old are your smoke detectors? When was the last time you tested them?

November 4th, 2011 No comments

The home heating and holiday season is approaching so now is a good time to inspect your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are in proper working condition.  It’s also a great time to consider having a professional electrician upgrade your smoke detectors to meet the current safety standards and local codes.

Ninety-six percent (96%) of all homes in the US have at least one smoke detector according to a 2010 National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) sponsored telephone survey.  But, only 75% of the homes in the US have a working smoke detector.  According to NFPA data from 2005-2009, smoke detectors sounded in only half (50%) of the fires reported to US fire departments and almost two-thirds (66%) of home fire deaths resulted from fires within homes with non-working or no smoke detectors.  Twenty-four percent (24%) of the deaths occurred in homes that had smoke detectors installed, but the detectors failed to sound.

Smoke detector installation code requirements are governed by the National Fire Alarm Code, NFPA 72.  Prior to 1993, smoke detectors were governed by NFPA 74.  The code requirements have changed over time, with the goal being the improvement of personal safety by providing earlier warning of fires through the home’s smoke detectors.  Prior to 1989, single, stand-alone battery operated smoke detectors were required to be installed in homes or in new construction.  In 1989, newly constructed homes were required to have interconnected (hardwired) smoke detectors on every level of the home and outside of sleeping areas.  With inter-connected detectors, all the units would sound if any one detector triggered and alarm.  In 1993, the code was revised to include a requirement for the hardwired smoke detectors to be in every bedroom or sleeping area in addition to the units on every floor.  In 1996, the code requirements were modified to require the hardwire smoke detectors also have battery back-ups to ensure operation during power outages.  This battery back-up must be able to maintain power to the smoke detector for a period of seven (7) days after the low battery warning begins to sound.

While governed by NFPA 72, smoke detectors are also covered or addressed in the National Electric Code (NEC).  The 2002 NEC saw a major revision with the new requirement of Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters for all bedroom circuits including lighting and smoke detector receptacles.  Local codes and local jurisdictions have overridden the NEC in many areas over concerns that nuisance tripping of AFCI circuits can leave the bedroom unprotected if the battery back-up fails.

Both the NFPA 72 and NEC require that smoke detectors have visible Power-On indicators (usually green LEDs) and be supplied by either a dedicated branch circuit or the unswitched portion of a branch circuit for power and lighting.  The NFPA 72 and NEC prohibit the use of a GFCI to supply power to smoke detectors.

Most electricians will strongly recommend that older homes or those built before the adoption of the 2002 NEC, should have the smoke detectors updated to meet the new code requirements and be installed on a dedicated, interconnected circuit with a smoke detector on all floors and detectors in all bedrooms or sleeping areas.  In addition, most electricians also recommend the addition of a hardwired, interconnected Carbon Monoxide detector with battery back-up be added the smoke detector alarm circuit near the furnace and hot water heater.  Alarm strobe lights are highly recommended for families with individuals that are hard of hearing or hearing impaired to alert them of alarm conditions.

 A parting tip:

Always change the back-up batteries in all smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors on your birthday and test the detectors at least four times a year, at the change of each season.  This ensures that the batteries are always in good condition and ready to offer the extended coverage in the event of a power loss.  Also, if you do experience and extended power loss for more than a day or two, it’s recommended that the batteries in all smoke detectors be replaced to ensure they are in top condition for the next power loss.  Batteries are a small price to pay to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

 

For additional information on the NFPA or NFPA 72, please visit the NFPA’s web site at:
http://www.nfpa.org/categoryList.asp?categoryID=278&URL=Safety%20Information/For%20consumers/Fire%20&%20safety%20equipment/Smoke%20alarms