Electric Fireplace Entertainment Wall

Electric Fireplace Entertainment Wall

Electric Fireplace Entertainment Wall – Do you want to make your home pop? Are you looking for a dramatic home improvement project that will add pizazz and great resale value? We can take an ordinary wall, strategically place the TV, install a state of the art electric fireplace with the help from a Fast turn PCB Assembly contractor, do a dramatic paint job, add some dimming LED lights, a few pieces of art-work and you have a perfect entertainment wall.

Here are the reasons to get an electric fireplace installation. If you’re new to the idea of owning an electric fireplace for your heating needs, we’re here to give you the scoop on all the reasons you’ll love having one. Skip ahead to the Electric Fireplace Infographic or View the Video, or keep reading to learn why it’s one of the best things you can do for your home this winter (or any season)!

Plano Texas Handyman is your local expert on design, installation and wiring. Call today for more information at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for all our capabilities. Electric Fireplace Entertainment Wall

1. No Smoke

Wood burning fireplaces release cancer-causing agents and dangerous fumes, such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide, into your home. Inhalation of these fumes can be dangerous to your family and pets. Even switching to woods that are supposed to produce higher heat and less smoke still produce harmful smoke that reduces the air quality in your home. However, electric fireplaces have zero emissions and no hazardous byproducts.

With an electric fireplace, long gone are the days when your whole house smelled like smoke. You can have a fireplace without harmful smoke or smoky odors seeping into carpets, rugs, couches, clothing or beds. Moreover, those inflicted with allergies and medical conditions such as asthma can find comfort and convenience in more advanced heating maintenance technology. For example, some electric fireplaces use infrared heat to avoid drying out the air and help maintain natural humidity for healthier warmth.

rustic white TV stand with fireplace in a bright living room.

2. Energy Efficient

Electric fireplaces are one of the most efficient ways to heat a home and heat rooms faster and more efficiently than wood-burning fireplaces. Since heat rises, traditional chimney fireplaces let all the heat out through the chimney. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “most traditional open fireplaces lose over 90 percent of the fire’s heat out the chimney, and much of the heated air in the room goes with it.” Since drafts come in through the chimney, your already heated room becomes cold again after a few gusts of freezing air coming down. With an electric fireplace, rooms warm up quickly and stay warm throughout use.

LED technology is also incorporated into many Twin Star Home™ electric fireplaces, which consumes less energy than regular incandescent bulbs. The normal lifespan of an LED bulb is 50,000 hours and contains no mercury. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and costs much less to operate. The LED bulb also stays cool to the touch because it produces approximately 90% less heat than an incandescent bulb. Additionally, there is no deforestation involved with enjoying the flame of an electric fireplace, so the forests will be pretty happy with you, too. Electric Fireplace Entertainment Wall

a wall mounted electric fireplace hangs in a cozy dim room

3. Save Money

You may have guessed that the energy efficiency of electric fireplaces also makes them more cost-efficient. As far as fireplaces go, electric is the least expensive. One of the reasons why is because electric fireplaces provide supplemental zone heating. Zone heating saves money by allowing you to lower the overall temperature of your home by 10-15 degrees. Then, you heat only the room that is occupied. This concept reduces the use of wasted energy and could save you up to 10% on your energy bills.

Electric fireplaces also save you from costly chimney cleaning, service checks, and installation fees. For wood-burning fireplaces, costs associated with installing and maintenance tend to be outrageous. With a traditional fireplace, you can expect to pay anywhere from $7,000-$10,000 or more on installation. Furthermore, associated costs can add up quickly. Chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, wood, and the lost heat that escapes from the chimney can drive up those numbers. Gas fireplace units run around $2,500 for the basic materials, along with another $2,500 for installation and finishing. Gas fireplaces also require annual service checks plus a chimney inspection, which can run from $100-$200. Meanwhile, an electric fireplace allows you to simply plug it in and enjoy.

a white shiplap wall mantel against a blue wall

4. Low Maintenance

Having the ambiance and warmth of a fireplace is much easier to enjoy when there is little to no maintenance involved. You can always opt to avoid the average cost of $200-$300 for a traditional fireplace chimney cleaning by doing the cleaning yourself. However, that can be a lot of effort! There is no ash and soot or chimney cleaning with an electric fireplace. In fact, chopping or storing logs isn’t necessary since firewood isn’t needed to harness heat. There is also no need to get down on your hands and knees or bend over in uncomfortable positions to light or tend to the fire. With an electric fireplace, you can just sit back and relax and use the remote to control the fireplace from across the room.

5. Anyone Can Enjoy an Electric Fireplace

Renters and those living in apartments, condos, small homes and even recreational vehicles (RVs) seldom get to enjoy the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace. With electric fireplaces, anyone can enjoy the dancing flames in any room of their home. Since there is no need for a chimney, electric fireplaces can be placed on any level of a building. Small living spaces are also a non-issue. A variety of models means they can also be placed in any size home to offer that calming environment a fireplace provides.

A small three-sided electric fireplace fits comfortably in an apartment corner.

6. Longer Lifespan

Electric fireplaces have a longer lifespan when compared to their wood burning and gas burning counterparts. Because they are not a combustible energy resource, electric fireplaces are not susceptible to rust and corrosion. Use one for several years on end and it still looks as new as the first day you got it.

7. Easy Installation

One of the best things about electric fireplaces is the ease of installation. It is a one-step process! All you have to do is plug it in and you are ready to enjoy. On the contrary, wood burning and gas fireplaces are costly, time consuming, and just a hassle to install. Oftentimes, you need a professional for installation.

8. So Many Electric Fireplace Options

Electric fireplaces come in a plethora of styles and options. They can look more traditional or contemporary to match any type of home decor or architectural style. Additionally, they allow the owner to be in complete control of their ideal fire experience. Depending on the features of the model you choose, you can customize settings such as brightness, flame speed, flame color, and more to suit your style or mood.

They can also be placed in locations that don’t normally allow for fireplaces, such as basements. You can even find some incorporated into various types of furniture. Some models are built into beautiful mantels and media consoles, allowing for extra storage that is also stylish. Wall mounted units save space and can sometimes be installed in a wall for a more flush look. Meanwhile, other options like electric fireplace inserts and electric log sets can be installed in already existing fireplaces to solve issues with a non-working wood or gas fireplace. More compact electric fireplace options can be moved around from room to room whenever you desire.

An industrial bookshelf with built in fireplace stands against a brick wall in a loft

9. Fireplace Safety

Although electric fireplaces produce enough heat to warm a room 400 square feet and up, they remain cool to the touch. Without the issue of hot metal casings, electric fireplaces are a safe alternative to a traditional fireplace for kids and pets. Automatic overheat protection also reduces the risk of fires resulting from the overheating of electronics. Depending on the electric fireplace you choose, you may also get safety features like Safer Plug® or Safer Sensor™. Safer Plug® is a fire prevention technology offered by Twin Star Home™. This safety feature monitors the temperature of the electric fireplace’s plug and automatically shuts off the unit should unsafe conditions arise. Similarly, Safer Sensor™ also prevents overheating. It automatically shuts the unit off if a person or object obstructs the heat source.

10. Use Electric Fireplaces Year-Round

Since heat and flame effect controls are independent, anyone can enjoy the cozy glow of an electric fireplace. Even during the warmer months! Use them with or without heat, leaving to experience the ambiance of a gentle rolling fire. Homes in all climates can set the mood for any occasion, in any room, all year long.

Plano Texas Handyman is your local expert on design, installation and wiring. Call today for more information at 214-507-3415 or visit our website for all our capabilities. Reasons to Install an Electric Fireplace

Apple HomeKit

Nanoleaf Ivy Smarter Kit

What Is Apple HomeKit?
In June of 2014 at their World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) Apple announced iOS 8 and highlighted some of the upcoming features. Among those features were two new “Kit” platforms, HealthKit and HomeKit, designed to integrate iOS with two rising digital-age trends: quantified self healthcare and smart homes. What HealthKit is to your body and fitness gear, HomeKit is to your home and electronics.  Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415 to discuss the installation of your home automation system. Visit our website at www.planotexashandyman.com for more information.  Apple HomeKit

HomeKit is not a single control application but is instead a hardware certification platform and database system that allows developers to create hardware and to integrate that hardware with iOS to provide for easy discovery, configuration, management, and communication between a wide variety of smarthome products like locks, lights, security equipment, and other home automation products.  Apple HomeKit

Armed with HomeKit products and your iOS device you can set up your home such that the lights turn on at a set time every morning to wake you, the thermostat cranks the AC up when you’re driving home on a hot day, and at the end of that day you can snuggle into bed and talk out loud to your iOS device to tell HomeKit to shut the house down for the evening. Let’s take a look at the most common questions we’ve been asked regarding HomeKit and, in the process, highlight all the things you need to use it and what you can do with it.

Do My Current Smart Home Products Work With HomeKit?
The short answer is “Most likely no with a tiny hint of maybe.” Let’s expand a bit on that. HomeKit products have to meet two criteria to be compatible with the HomeKit platform. First, they need to be certified through Apple’s MFI Program, a certification process Apple has had in place for years (reaching back in some form or another all the way to the original “Made for iPod” certification circa 2005). This certification is designed to ensure that any product labeled as such works properly with Apple hardware, iOS, and that developers of said hardware adhere to specific rules and security practices.  Apple HomeKit

Controlling the components of someone’s home is a big deal both from a practical security standpoint and from the emotional standpoint of the owner of said hardware. Apple designed HomeKit from the beginning to be secure and to side-step the security shortcomings of many early smarthome products and to give people peace of mind when linking sensitive components, like home locks and security cameras, to their network and the greater Internet.

As such, you can’t take a pre-HomeKit smart home product, like say a smart power strip you bought three years ago, and just add it into the HomeKit system because that product is most likely not MFi Program certified and most definitely does not have the HomeKit encryption hardware.

Unfortunately if the manufacturer doesn’t use a central hub system and/or doesn’t release an updated hub with HomeKit support then there is no way for your old hardware to integrate with HomeKit.

How Do I Actually Use HomeKit?
You never really directly use HomeKit in the same way that you never really directly use the Internet (but instead use an application like FTP client or a web browser). HomeKit serves as the underpinning of your Apple-driven smarthome experience the way that all those unseen protocols and network connections underpin your Internet experience.   Apple HomeKit

There is no central HomeKit control panel, for example, on your iOS device that you can just open up and control all your devices. While HomeKit is always there in the background handling everything, the actual interaction comes in four forms: through the manufacturer’s application, through a third-party application created by an iOS developer, via Siri voice control, or via digital and physical triggers.

Manufacturer Apps
Every application for a HomeKit-certified device typically contains two HomeKit related element. First that application will have some ability to link your HomeKit-certified hardware to a scene, room, or zone. For example your smartbulb system might have a “scene” system where you can create scenes like “relaxation”, “movie time”, or “morning routine”.  Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman 214-507-3415 to discuss the installation of your home automation system. Visit our website at www.planotexashandyman.com for more information.

It might also give you the ability to group lights together into physical rooms or zones like “bedroom” or “upstairs”. The second HomeKit related element is the ability to link the application to the iOS voice assistant Siri; you’ll find an option somewhere in the menu system of the application that reads like “Enable Siri”, “Enable Siri HomeKit Integration”, or the like. We’ll talk more about Siri in a moment.

Third Party Apps
The HomeKit system is also accessible to developers outside of those involved in hardware manufacturing. This allows developers to create control dashboards for the HomeKit system which, thankfully, fill in a void that is conspiciously missing from the native HomeKit experience.  Apple HomeKit

One example of such an application and one which we are particularly fond of is the simply named Home app by Matthias Hochgatterer. His application functions exactly like the kind of all-in-one dashboard most people expected HomeKit to have in the first place (and allows you to create rooms and zones even for HomeKit apps/hardware that lack said functionality).

We fully expect to see more applications like Home appear on the market as the demand for more robust and traditional dashboard-type control of HomeKit rises with the adoption of HomeKit-enabled hardware.

Voice Control
While the apps are great (and essential to setting up and configuring your HomeKit gear) the real welcome-to-the-future killer feature of HomeKit is integration with iOS’s digital voice assistant Siri.

Siri control is pretty flexible and if there is a scene/room/zone and a matching task Siri can complete within the HomeKit database, she is pretty good about following natural language patterns to fufill your commands. Commands like “Turn off the office lights”, “Set the house to 75 degrees”, or “set morning scene” are all easily understood by Siri and will, if your product’s HomeKit hardware/app supports it, turn off the lights in the office, change the house temperature, or activate whatever is linked to your morning scene (like changing the lights to cool white and starting the coffee maker).  Apple HomeKit

Environmental Triggers
While voice-controlled triggers are super cool and definitely make you feel like you’re living in the future (we’ve gotten very used to ending our day by saying “Hey Siri, turn off the lights”), the real magic is environmental triggers that occur in the background without any interaction from you.

To that end you can set up HomeKit with location, time, and hardware-based triggers such that your home automatically makes adjustments based on where you are, what time of day it is, and where in the home you are (or other sensor-based triggers).  Apple HomeKit

With such triggers it is possible for HomeKit to turn on your lights and turn down the AC when the GPS in your iPhone registers that you’re near your home, for the lights to turn on automatically to wake you in the morning, or for your furnace to turn on when the motion sensor in the hallway detects that people are up and moving around in the morning.  Apple HomeKit

Between the ubiquity of location tracking thanks to the GPS chip in iOS devices, the simplicity of clock-based triggers, and the continually falling prices of simple sensors, the future of home automation is definitely this kind of in-the-background ambient triggering wherein our homes simply adapt and adjust to us without any of the fiddling with switches, schedules, thermostats, or other activities that defined 20th century domestic life.

Can I Use HomeKit Away From Home?
By default HomeKit only works within your home or, more accurately, within the radius covered by the Wi-Fi that links your iOS device to the HomeKit devices. If you want to be able to issue commands from afar via voice commands then you need an additional accessory.

Thankfully that accessory isn’t a one-trick pony wherein you shell out money for a little bridge that just sits there plugged into the wall doing nothing but waiting for your to send a voice command from across the country.  Apple HomeKit

Apple integrated HomeKit control into the Apple TV so your entertainment hub can do double duty as a home control hub. You don’t need Apple TV to use HomeKit but you do need it if you want to control HomeKit from afar.

To do so all you need is an Apple TV (3rd generation or newer) and for both the iOS device that you normally use to control your HomeKit hardware and the Apple TV to be logged into the same iCloud account.  Apple HomeKit

If you’ve already invested in smarthome equipment the introduction of HomeKit is definitely a bit of a bump in the road. For those still on the cusp of adoption and already using iOS devices, however, HomeKit is a huge step in the right direction that bridges easy integration and universal control to the often fractured landscape of home automation equipment and protocols.  Apple HomeKit

Community Camera and Surveillance Systems

Keep Your Home Safe During the Holidays

Community Camera and Surveillance Systems – One of the most popular types of communities in the United States is the gated community with limited access. This is where people can live in peace because their entire community is surrounded by a wall, with a gate at the front entrance and also sometimes as rear gated entrance as well. Some have security guards at the front of these communities, while others do not. The fact of the matter is that not all communities have 10′ walls along with guarded access. So what is the solution? Community Camera and Surveillance Systems. The world has become a virtual reality video camera and everywhere you look, most likely you are being recorded, in a Walmart parking lot, in any business establishment, government buildings, public building, most anywhere. WHY NOT your neighborhood or community? Community Camera and Surveillance Systems, Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman – 214-507-3415 for more information on your Community Camera and Surveillance Systems.

By setting up security cameras, DVRs and remote viewing capabilities in the surveillance system, home owner associations get a ‘virtual security guard’. With the security cameras, those who want to try and sneak into the community will be prevented the ability to do so because of the ‘eye in the sky’. As well, through remote viewing, the members of the gated community can keep an eye on the front in their spare time, turning the entire community into a ‘remote viewing neighborhood watch’. This is worth its weight in gold because it gets the community together for a common goal and it helps keep everyone safe, without the costs of a security guard. Of course, if you would feel safer with a security guard present, you can always look at contacting a houston tx security guard company, or one that is close to your neighborhood to hire a guard in conjunction with the cameras.

So how does a community camera program work and how does it interface with local police enforcement and authorities? Community Camera and Surveillance Systems, Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman – 214-507-3415 for more information on your Community Camera and Surveillance Systems.

I believe this is a wonderful program that allows our citizens and the police to work together to fight (and solve) crimes in our community. Here’s how the program works:

– No fee or permit is required
– Signing up is completely voluntary
– Community Camera and Surveillance Systems do NOT ask for or want monitoring access to your camera surveillance system
– You enhance the “eyes and ears” in the community and safety around your house 24/7

Now here’s an example of how you would use this:The police receives a report of a criminal offense in your neighborhood. The officers and detectives have access to a secure server where the registered residents are listed. If they believe, based on their investigation, that information may have been caught on your camera system, they will contact you and ask if you could review your recorded video during a specified time/date range. If you are able to see something of interest, they would ask that you make a copy for them to review. If you don’t have knowledge on how to burn a copy for us, we have a Digital Media Specialist that can assist, with your permission to do so. Community Camera and Surveillance Systems, Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman – 214-507-3415 for more information on your Community Camera and Surveillance Systems.

Pretty simple huh? Not only can cameras deter crime at your house, they can also assist in helping out your neighbors when crime hits your area. This program works! One example was awhile back when the police investigated and apprehended a bank robbery suspect. One of the citizens who had surveillance cameras in place contacted the police and after reviewing the video, contacted the police and advised he had information that may be relevant to the case. As it turns out, he did. The information his camera caught assisted us in identifying the suspect and his vehicle which had been parked in a nearby neighborhood.

Remember, this is a voluntary program but we want to encourage each of you that have or will be getting surveillance systems to be a part of this important crime-fighting program. If you still have questions about this, do not hesitate to contact me. I am a firm believer in anything that can enhance our partnership with you in keeping Plano a safe community and that is why I believe strongly in this program. Community Camera and Surveillance Systems, Call Ted at Plano Texas Handyman – 214-507-3415 for more information on your Community Camera and Surveillance Systems.

Home Automation System

Home Automation System

IRIS Home Automation System
With Iris you can simplify everyday events right from your smartphone. Walk in a room and your lights come on. Glass breaks and your siren sounds. Kids come home early and you get a notification. By connecting devices around your home with your mobile device, you can personalize Iris to the way you live.  Iris streamlines home management and puts power at your fingertips by connecting your Iris compatible smart devices through a single app. There, you can control and monitor each of them. As your family grows, so can your smart home. It’s as easy as adding an Iris compatible device to your network and connecting it to Iris.

What’s the Installation Process Like?
Plano Texas Handyman offers professional installation.  They have the peel and stick sensors as well. But if you get the thermostat or some GE switches or outlets you’ll need to incorporate the  professional to install them since they need wired into your home.

What are Your Monitoring Options?
Iris has two monitoring plans as well: Basic and Premium. Basic is free and Premium is $9.99/month. These aren’t professional monitoring plans though. The Basic plan lets one person view the previous 24 hours of activity and the Premium lets up to 6 people view the previous 14 days of activity. With Premium you can also record video and get more notifications. Both the Basic and Premium plans are monitored via b

 IRIS HOME AUTOMATION COMPARISON
Package Name
Equipment Cost
Iris HuB
Keypad
Motion Sensor
Door/Window Sensor
Keychain Remote
Smart Thermostat
Smart Plug
Panic Button
Smoke Detector
Water Sensor
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Wireless Indoor Camera
Wireless Outdoor Camera
Security Pack
$99.99
$59.99
(must have one)
1
1
2
$35.00 each
Starting at $110.00 each
$55.00 each
$50.00 each
$40.00 each or $55.00
(with CO detector) each
$50.00 each
$55.00 (with smoke detector) each
$175.00 each
$195.00 each
Automation Pack
$129.99
$59.99
(must have one)
$55.00 each
1
2
35.00 each
Starting at $110.00 each
1
1
$40.00 each or $55.00
(with CO detector) each
$50.00 each
$55.00 (with smoke detector) each
$175.00 each
$195.00 each
Monthly Monitoring
  • Free – Self Monitoring (Email, Text or Voice Alert) (Broadband)
  • $9.99 – Self-Monitored + Cell Phone Control of Iris + Remote Video Viewing (Broadband)