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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.

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.

 

How Hard is it to Update an Older Home with Today’s Technology?

August 29th, 2018 No comments

Got an older home where your new technology just doesn’t seem to fit?  Wiring isn’t in the right place, wireless signals are weak, internet speeds are slow, and when you lose power it’s a major task to restart everything?

Updating older home technology

Incorporating newer technologies into older homes sometimes requires a little extra effort.

These problems tend to have a common cause.  Older homes, especially larger ones, were not built with today’s audio/visual, computer and wireless devices in mind.  As a result your wireless technology just doesn’t seem to work at the level you expect.  Fortunately there are solutions to these problems that do not require you to move.

Improving WIFI Signals
Some of the simpler steps that can be taken to improve WIFI signal strength are:

  1. Checking your router to make sure it is not obsolete. To handle higher bandwidth applications you should be using models designated 802.11n at 300Mbps, or the latest 802.11ac at 1Gbps.
  2. Placement of your router. The more central the location the better.
  3. Add wireless signal extenders that boost the signal throughout your home.
Artisan rack

Additional equipment installed to enhance overall signal performance.

Streaming Applications
For those wanting to stream shows to their computers and high definition TV’s, taking the above steps may not be enough.  More sophisticated technology like POE switches and direct wiring via CAT6 and coax cable to the units may be required.  For older homes this entails more work because, unlike newer homes, they were not pre-wired for this type of application.

Taking It to the Max
Recently Artisan Electric, working in conjunction with Abstract Technology, wrapped up a project to significantly upgrade the network connectivity of a number of devices in a customer’s older home.

Because of the size of the home and the number of devices to be controlled Artisan installed a POE switch and 3 enterprise grade access points that boosted the WIFI signal throughout the home. In addition we ran new CAT6 network and coax cable to accommodate five TV locations and other electronic devices.  To top it off, the customer had us install a UPS battery backup that can run a full 100 meg WIFI network for up to eight hours.

Artisan Electric "gimme that juice" logoNot Every Project Is This Big
Updating your older home’s tech infrastructure doesn’t have to entail everything we did in the project above.  We’d encourage you to give Artisan Electric a call at 765-464-9184 and we’d be happy to come out, run a few speed and signal strength tests, and help you determine the best approach to making your beautiful home more tech savvy.

Wiring in Historic and Older Homes

October 24th, 2017 No comments

Historic and older homes come with charm and wiring questions.

Historic Home

Historic homes come with charm and a lot of questions about wiring.

Older homes come with a great deal of charm and style, as well as a number of potentially hazardous situations related to old wiring.

Old house electrical systems can often become a rat’s nest of wires and splices as the occupant’s electrical needs have grown over the years and unqualified people have worked on the wiring.

Depending on the age of your old house, you may have several generations of electrical wiring and components that aren’t as safe as they should or could be. 

Knowing the Condition of Your House’s Wiring
In order to determine if your historic house or building requires new electrical wiring or needs upgrades, a qualified electrician will need to conduct a thorough inspection of the electrical system.  As an electrical contractor who has worked on a great many historic one-of-a-kind properties we understand that it takes a very specific set of skills to do this work well.  Even then you have to love these properties like they are your own and believe in their value!  See our thoughts on how to proceed with your older home.

Not All Old Wiring Is Unsafe
In unaltered buildings built since about 1940, the electrical system can be intact and safe – but there are a lot of *IF’s* with that statement. These homes used a variety of electrical wire types with different forms of insulation and since 1940 there have been many changes to the NEC (National Electrical Code).  You will want to check to make sure there are enough existing circuits and the load capacity is adequate for the electrical requirements of the renovated home or building.  It is also important to understand if the wiring is grounded and was installed correctly initially.

knob and tube wiringWatch Out for Knob & Tube Wiring
As you are inspecting the electrical wiring in your house or building, you should determine if your structure has any knob and tube wiring.  This was the earliest form of electrical wiring in the U.S. and was used in the 1870’s to the 1930’s.  The popularity of knob and tube wiring diminished by 1940, but continued to be installed in some homes and buildings until about 1975.

Knob and tube wiring consists of two wires running parallel to each other and threaded through a hole in the joist. A porcelain tube inserted into the hole prevents the wire from touching the wood. When these wires are bent to make a turn, they are wrapped around a porcelain knob nailed to the side of the joist. Since knob and tube wiring has no grounding wire, it can be a fire and shock hazard. If you find knob and tube wiring during your inspection, it would be our only recommendation that it needs to be replaced.

Requirements for GFCI Outlets
Ground Fault Circuit InterupterIf you are planning a substantial rehab to your structure, you might be required by building codes to install a three-pronged, grounded GRCI outlet every six feet.  A licensed electrician can help you determine if you must meet this requirement.

Outlets within six feet of every sink or water-supplied fixture should be GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets. A GFCI outlet has a push-in button for testing and another button that acts like a circuit breaker. A GFCI outlet, and any outlet that is properly wired to it, will prevent an electrical short caused by water coming in contact with a source of electricity.

Check Your Light Fixture Wiring
If the wiring to your lighting has only two wires present, it is a good indication that your lights are not grounded. This can create a fire and shock hazard and the ceiling light fixtures in your house or building will need to be rewired.

juice2Need Someone to Inspect Your Wiring?
Please note that the information presented in this article is not intended to provide comprehensive technical advice or instructions on solving historic home wiring issues.

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