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Archive for July, 2010

Kirby Risk Supply – great resouce based here in Lafayette, Indiana

July 30th, 2010 No comments

We buy A LOT of materials, and any many cases are at the mercy of our vendors for warranty and pro product solutions.  Kirby Risk Supply is our primary vendor and an industry leader in the electrical supply field.  What a lot of people don’t know is that they are a locally owned family  company based right here in Lafayette Indiana.  They have many divisions and cover a lot of ground from residential, to heavy industrial, as well as motors and full repair / rebuild services for electrical components. If you have never been to there web page and like tech stuff go check it out.

If you are a lighting and ceiling fan freak a trip by the local lighting showroom is a must – they have the kinds of things there you just can see at the big box home stores.

Enjoy!

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Electrical Tip of the Day: Testing wires for lightning damage – MegOhm test

July 22nd, 2010 No comments

Here in the Lafayette area it is summer storm season, and it has been a very bad year for high yield lightning strikes.  We have a number of jobs going on right now where we are working with clients to get damaged wiring in homes replaced.

The question that always comes up is:  “How do I know if there has been damage, is there a way to test the wires in the walls?”.  Thankfully, the answer is YES.  We do in fact have a way to test for this.  Its called an insulation resistance test, also know as a MegOhm test or sometimes referred to in the trades as “Megging”.

The theory is simple really – the electrical resistance of the insulation on a conductor or in a piece of equipment can be tested and measured by isolating the conductor from ground, applying a high voltage over time, then measuring the results.  In most residential situations we use a 300 to 500 volt DC test over 10 minutes.  When done with care and by knowledgeable electricians it is a very reliable test.

So – here is the process for preforming a megohm test in a home:

1) ALL electrical current to the dwelling must be shut off

2) All appliances, light fixtures, heating and cooling equipment, dimmers, GFCI’s, AFCI’s, low voltage systems and any “plugged in” or “hard wired” equipment must be disconnected from the circuit(s) to be tested

3) The best practice at this point is to then isolate each individual wire – taking apart every splice, junction, and connection in the circuit to be tested

4) Next, the testing of the insulation can be preformed – this part actually goes pretty quick

5) After testing any conductor that fails to meet the testing standards should be considered damaged and marked for replacement

So, now a word of caution is in order.  If you have had a major strike and the  electrician, general contractor (or restoration company) helping you out with the repairs has not told you about this process, then GET ANOTHER COMPANY.  MegOhm testing is really the only way to know if damage has occurred, and even then it is not a fool proof testing process. You can’t be sure by visible inspection alone, and you can’t visibly inspect most of the wires in a home.  Lightning is crazy stuff, it has a super high voltage and travels very fast.  If your home has been hit tell your insurance agent you want it tested!  We also HIGHLY RECOMMEND that any home that has had a strike install Arch-Fault breakers on all the branch circuit wiring, as well as make sure proper fire alarms are in place (and a quality A-B-B fire extinguisher is located on each floor).

Here are some pictures of lighting damage from a few projects we have going on now

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Electrical Tip of the Day – Data / Voice / HDTV / Satellite TV cabling – we can help!

July 8th, 2010 No comments

In this day and age of cutbacks, start up companies, “magic jacks”, new technology from TV, internet, and telephone providers; and the mentality of many of these companies to make the fast buck it can be hard to know were to turn to manage issues related to these services.  Specifically the cable infrastructure and trouble shooting.

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Artisan Electric is qualified  to do all forms of networking cabling – including:

  • Category cabling for home data networks and structured wiring
  • Coaxial video cabling for Internet /HDTV /satellite / home automation/ audio projects
  • Telephone cabling for voice and DSL
  • Audio and whole house sound
  • All forms of low voltage wiring for home automation and lighting control
  • Home and office fiber optic cabling  installation /terminations
  • Certified testing for structured wiring networks

If you are having trouble with service providers getting you the results you want (or expect) let us know – we can help.  In most cases we can do a better job for less money and avoid the “staple it to you house and drill a hole in the wall” install method!

Here is another good (FREE) resource for testing Internet speeds, the  SPEAK EASY SPEED TEST .  Truthfully many providers have a bad habit of selling you upload / download speeds that they are not actually providing.  If you can test it and you are not getting what you are paying for then there is a good argument to be made with your service provider for improved service or a discounted rate.

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Electrical Tip of the Day: 10 Ways to save money on your electric bill

July 2nd, 2010 No comments

This is a great article we thought we would pass along – re-posted with permission from our friends at Change of Address.Org

10 Ways to Save Money On Electricity Bills

It’s that time of year again and as our central air conditioning units work overtime to cool our houses this Summer, our electricity bills start to skyrocket.  It’s not uncommon for a power bill to double through the Summer months and given the heat there is only so much we can do about it.  In a few States with deregulated electricity like Texas you can shop around for lower electricity rates (priced in kilowatts/hour).  If that’s not an option for you (or even if it is) you can still save a bundle on your electricity bills by following these 10 Ways To Save Money On Electricity Bills.

  1. This one is one you hear a lot yet most of us STILL do it.  You should try to not pre-rinse your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.  Why?  Because you waste hot water and more has to be heated.  This of course applies to people with electric water heaters (you can also buy a gas model to reduce electricity consumption – but then watch your gas bill).
  2. Continuing with dishwashers, you should look into purchasing a new one because the newer generation is so much more energy efficient you can usually pay for the cost of the new dishwasher within one year due to decreased power consumption.  You can also save by avoiding the use of the heat dry option on your dishwasher.
  3. Surprisingly another great way to save money is to simply turn your ceiling fans off when you are not in the room.  For some odd reason people leave ceiling fans running most of the time and especially in a home with central air this should not be necessary.
  4. Lights, lights, and more lights.  C’mon already shutoff the lights when you are not in the room and you don’t need to use lights as much during the daytime.  This is a major pet peeve of mine and simply wastes electricity needlessly.  You should also consider switching to CFL bulbs to both last longer and reduce the amount of electricity that your lights draw.
  5. TV’s are everywhere!  If your home is like my home there is a TV in just about every room and generally the TV’s are on even if nobody is in the room.  Talk about lazy, we can even use the remotes to shutoff the TV’s when we leave the room.  This is a completely unnecessary use of power.
  6. Computers should also be turned off when not being used.  Why do we leave computers on all the time?  Do we expect that they will magically tweet everything going on in the home (I certainly hope not).  They should at least be using the built-in power saving features to turn off monitors, etc. after a few minutes of being idle.
  7. Washing machines can consume a lot of electricity.  Did you know that front-loading washing machines use 50% of the power and 40% less water than top loading wasters?  That’s a pretty ridiculous savings that again can quickly pay off an upfront investment in a newer washer.
  8. Clothes dryers are another power hungry appliance that you simply need to do basic maintenance on.  Make sure to clean the lint filter between each use.  Building up lint doesn’t only cause the machine to be less efficient it’s also a serious fire hazard.
  9. Refrigerator use needs to also be sensible.  Don’t over-cram food into your refrigerator as it makes it work harder to keep the excess cooled.  Also, don’t put hot food directly into the refrigerator (let it cool first).  You should also avoid putting the refrigerator right next to a heat source (like an oven).  Lastly, of course try to use an energy efficient refrigerator if possible.
  10. Ovens can also pull a lot of juice (microwaves, toaster ovens, and electric stoves).  Did you know that food cooks faster when placed as close as possible to the edge of the rotating tray in a microwave?  The faster it cooks the quicker the microwave is shutoff and not consuming as much power.  Also, try to use a toaster oven over a traditional oven when possible to reduce the amount of electricity used.  Lastly, don’t constantly open up the oven to check on food, use the light that’s what it’s there for (so you can see without letting a bunch of heat out of the oven).

Most of these tips are common sense ways to reduce your power bill and they generally help all year long (not just in the Summer).  We  definitely recommend that you keep power consumption in mind (more frequently than every time you receive your electricity bill).

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