Electrical Safety

Posted on: October 9th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Fire prevention awareness month is here, and some of the most common causes of fires besides cooking and unsafe heating are electrical issues. What do you need to know to stay safe?

Outlets. Do not force a plug into an outlet or remove the third prong to make a three-prong plug fit a two-conductor outlet. Make sure plugs aren’t too loose fitting. Don’t overload outlets with too many appliance plugs. Replace any missing or broken wall plates.

Cords. Do not put cords under rugs or carpets or in places where people will walk on them. Do not staple or nail them to floors or anything else. There are plenty of safe ways to hide your cords. Make sure cords are not frayed or cracked. Extension cords are meant only for temporary use.

Light bulbs. Make sure you use the correct wattage for your fixtures. Do not use a higher wattage than recommended. Screw them in securely to make sure they are not loose.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). Make sure GFCIs are installed in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, basement, garage and on outdoor outlets. Test them about once a month.

Circuit breakers/Fuses. Have an electrician identify and label your circuit breaker, or do it yourself. Fuses should be properly rated for each circuit they are protecting.

Appliances/Electronics. It is a good idea to use surge protectors to protect expensive electronics. Check for damage in wiring. If an appliance blows a fuse more than once, trips the circuit breaker or gives you a shock, unplug it and get it repaired.

Electrical wiring. Check for loose wires, wall receptacles or lighting fixtures. If light switches are hot or lights spark and flicker, shut off and replace them.

Remember that the more appliances and electronics you get, the more your home’s service capacity may end up overburdened.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

 

 

Install Fire and CO2 Alarms

Posted on: October 9th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

October is fire prevention awareness month, and winter is prime time for fires due to people using unsafe techniques to warm up. How do you install smoke and CO2 alarms? Where do you place them? How many do you need?

Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. In addition, a smoke alarm should be installed on each level of your home.

Smoke alarms should be high on the wall (but not less than 12 inches away from the ceiling) because smoke rises. For ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within 4 inches down from the peak, called the apex. Make sure your alarms are not near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with them. They should also be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance unless you enjoy hearing false alarms often!

The best way to protect your home is with interconnected alarms. To do so, you’ll probably need to hire a professional if using hard wiring. There are also wireless technology options. With interconnected smoke alarms, make sure they are from the same manufacturer.

Buy smoke alarms that show a label of a recognized testing laboratory and are combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor alarms. These respond to both flaming fires and smoldering fires

Carbon monoxide mixes with the air, so these alarms should be at knee level (to meet the height of a sleeping person). You can move them up to chest height if needed in a home with young children. A single-function carbon monoxide alarm is typically recommended. If you have a dual smoke-CO detector, put it higher up so it can detect smoke. Make sure to put at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level. Extra detectors near sleeping areas are also a good idea. Any place where you have a fuel-fired appliance such as a gas fireplace or gas clothes dryer, make sure you have a CO2 alarm.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

 

 

 

Bathroom Ventilation Fans

Posted on: October 5th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Long showers feel fantastic—but they aren’t so great for your home. The humidity can breed mold and mildew, which is not only a health hazard, but also bad for your building materials. Ventilation fans can help remove moisture, mold spores and odor from your bathrooms. Nowadays they are “smart” and efficient. What should you look for?

Think about where the air will go. Bathroom ventilation fans often exhaust air in between ceiling joists or into an attic, which brings the moisture into closed spaces where mold can breed. Instead, connect your bathroom exhaust fan to vent ducts that exhaust the air outside your house. If you’re concerned the fan will take the heated air out of your house, install a heat-exchange ventilator fan. Keep in mind that these are more expensive.

Measure your bathroom’s floor space. The air flow capacities of bathroom ventilation fans are measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). The Home Ventilating Institute says that your fan should have 1 cfm for every square foot of floor space.

Are you bothered by loud noise? Have a sleeping child or spouse? Fan noise is rated by sones. A rating of 0.5 to 1.2 sones means the fan is very quiet, 1.5 to 2.0 sones is a good middle range, and above 4.0 sones means noisy.

Of course these days there are “smart” options. Motion sensor activation turns on the fan when someone enters the room. Fan speed can be pre-set to remove the moisture of smaller tasks like shaving. Some offer a night light to help you in the dark. Humidity sensing fans automatically switch on when they detect high levels of humidity. Some even have built-in heaters.

Another modern luxury—energy efficient ventilation fans, which use about 60 percent less energy than standard fans.

Be prepared to spend between $90 and $400 for a new ventilation fan, and more if you get a professional installation.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Preventing Wood Rot

Posted on: October 5th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Houses are made with a lot of wood—framing members, plywood, trim, etc. You can shell out plenty of money to fix wood rot if it is left untreated and it
can even bring on the termites—so how can you prevent it?

At least once a year inspect your home:

Look for cracks or holes in the caulking around windows, doors and dryer vents. Re-caulk any openings with acrylic latex exterior caulk.

Check under eaves, around fireplaces, and on interior ceilings for any possible leaks.

Look for sagging or leaking gutters and downspouts.

Trim back any shrubbery or tree branches closer than 2 to 3 feet from the sides and roof of your home.

Check for peeling and cracked painted surfaces and prime and paint if needed.

This fall, make sure your crawl space vents don’t get blocked with leaves and other debris.

Lastly, check for dirt and debris between decking boards. Clean them out and spray with a hose if needed.

If you think you have some wood rot, press on the wood surface and see if it feels soft or crumbly. Remember this can happen on the layers underneath—even if the surface isn’t so obvious. Some common spots include: where siding meets trim, where two pieces of trim meet, horizontal surfaces, deck support posts and fascia behind leaking gutters.

In the future, use decay-resistant or pressure-treated lumber for decks. Stain or paint all sides of each lumber piece before assembly. Do not lean anything against your siding. Make sure to clean your gutters this fall.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Warm Up Your Outdoor Space

Posted on: September 30th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

 

Enjoy the cool fall weather outdoors by adding some warmth to your porch or patio. In addition to bringing out some hot chocolate and cozy blankets, what else can you do to stay toasty while you and your guests enjoy the chillier evenings?

A portable patio heater is something you’ve likely seen at a restaurant or bar. It can also be used for your outdoor space. It will not take up much space and can heat up an area of up to 25 square feet. It is typically fueled by propane.

A fire pit can be simple or elaborate. You can buy a fire pit or get one built or make your own. Wood-burning pits are popular, but check your local wood-burning laws. If you use butane or gas, that will need to be hooked up by a professional.

A fireplace can be a beautiful focal point for a backyard. If you’re considering getting one, consider low-hanging trees and shrubs, any structures nearby and where the wind could blow the smoke.

chimenea is a simple option. It is made of clay or metal. You’ll want a sturdy one that has a spark screen. You can also get a chimney extension to help vent the smoke.

You can also get some heat—and delicious food—from an outdoor kitchen. You may also consider floor heating, which is typically used indoors but is being used outdoors now as well. Another out-of-the-box option is a hot tub. Both of these options would require professional installation and can be costly. The hot tub, in addition to electrical work, would also require plumbing work.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

 

 

 

Clean Your Gutters

Posted on: September 30th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

The leaves are already starting to fall, and before you know it, you’ll have a yard full of red, orange and brown foliage. While it may be pretty to see, it can also be a big hassle. How can you get your gutters ready for fall and make sure they stay in good shape?

Fall means lots of debris in your gutters. Removing the leaves and other debris from your gutters will ensure proper water drainage. This is an often overlooked task that can prevent serious damage to your roof and home.

Clean your gutters at least once a year to make sure water drains well and away from your home to prevent damage to your home.

You’ll need a sturdy extendable ladder—preferably one with ladder horns so it won’t damage the gutters. You will also need a small hand shovel or something to scoop out the debris. If you want to protect your lawn, put out a plastic tarp underneath where you’ll be dumping all of the gunk.

Make sure you not only clean out the clogged gutters, but also the downspouts. Make sure the downspouts are still connected well and pointed away from the house.

After digging everything out of the gutters, flush them out with a garden hose. Check to make sure your gutter system does not have any leaks.

If you want to help prevent gutter buildup in the future, install gutter covers. These are typically mesh screens or clip-on grates. They should also be inspected and cleaned at least once a year, although they will cut down quite a bit on the work you’ll have to do with your gutters each fall.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Window Coverings to Warm Up

Posted on: September 25th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

With cooler temperatures around the corner, you might be getting your house prepared to heat up without spending as much as you did last winter on your energy bills. A simple way to make a big difference is by using window coverings strategically. The Department of Energy says that using window coverings can reduce heat loss by more than 70 percent!

If you have awnings, roll them up if possible during the winter to warm up your house. During the summer they can help keep your house cool.

Make sure your curtains and drapes are hung as closely as possible to the windows and fall to the windowsill or floor. Open your curtains and drapes in the winter to let the sun in during the day. At night, seal them at the sides and overlap them in the middle. Most standard curtains can reduce heat loss up to 10 percent, and even more if you use the above tips. During the warm months, do the opposite. Keep them closed.

Look for energy-efficient window treatments like thermal Roman shades. You can also look for curtains that have detachable thermal panels. You can even make your own if you’re good with a sewing machine. Speaking of do-it-yourself, wool curtains are also a great idea because wool is a very insulating material.

Window blinds are better at reducing summer heat gain than helping with winter heat loss because of the openings between slats.

High-reflectivity window films can help block the sun’s heat in the winter. The effectiveness will depend on the size, window orientation and building orientation and climate. For example, east- and west-facing windows will have better heat gain and will benefit more than north or south-facing windows.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

Stove & Oven Energy Savings

Posted on: September 25th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

The kitchen is often the most-used room in the house. So how can you use less energy in the kitchen and save some money on your bill each month?

Make the best use of your oven—cook more than one thing at a time, and don’t use it if you can use a toaster oven or microwave instead, which use less energy. You can also see if you have some flexibility with cooking time—turn off the oven for the last few minutes and your food will still continue cooking, but you’ll save a little energy.

Use the correct sized pot or pan on the stove burners. If your pot or pan is smaller than the burner, heat is wasted. Use lids that are tight to help reduce cooking time. Pressure cookers also save energy.

If you’re looking for a new stove, go for an energy-efficient model. Standard electric coils are the least efficient. Stoves that use induction elements use less than half the energy of standard coil elements. However, these will cost more up front.

Ceramic-glass surfaces are another good choice. They use halogen elements as the heat source and deliver heat instantly and respond quickly to temperature changes. If you have a gas stove you can save energy with a lower the BTU output.

You’ll also want to look for energy-efficient models of all appliances, such as dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers. Of course, if you don’t need a new appliance, repair! If you do need a new appliance though, check to see if your area has a take-back program or a place to properly dispose of appliances.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

 

 

Get Rid of Bathroom Mold & Mildew

Posted on: September 18th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

It’s the room where you get clean… but the bathroom itself is usually very dirty! With all of that water, come mold and mildew. Not only is it unsightly, but it an also be a hazard to your health and your home in large amounts. What are your choices if you don’t want to use harsh bleach? What other contributing bathroom issues do you need to look for?

Hot water with some soap and baking soda can remove mold and mildew. Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap with one cup of baking soda to make a paste, and add essential oils for a nice scent if you’d like. You can also mix a little bit of bleach in a spray bottle and use that as a finishing touch.

Vinegar is another item you probably already have in your home that is a great cleaning agent. Put white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the area. Wait an hour, and then scrub. In addition, if you regularly spray vinegar on a surface prone to mold, it will help prevent it from growing.

Hydrogen peroxide in a dark spray bottle (to keep its effectiveness) can clean up mold and mildew. Simply spray it, leave for at least 20 minutes, and wipe clean. You can also add a bit of vinegar too.

While you’re cleaning up, take a look around your bathroom to see where mold and mildew might hide— like that cute whale faucet cover for your kids! Also, see if there are leaks that need to be addressed or if you’d benefit from adding an exhaust fan. Take steps to prevent major problems in the future.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!

 

Home Preparation for Emergencies

Posted on: September 18th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Hurricane season is in full swing and the time of year when most house fires happen is around the corner. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to go through your home safety checklist. Here are some things to check.

When we turn our clocks back we should change the batteries in our smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Set aside an hour to go through your whole house. Speaking of fire preparation, check to make sure you know where your fire extinguishers are and if an extinguisher has been used, you may need to replace it.  Also—go over your fire escape plan with your family.

Check to make sure you know where your first aid kits are—or make/buy some if you don’t have them. They should include bandages, gauze, tweezers, painkillers and anything else you might need if injured.

Other items to keep in a plastic box: duct tape, plastic sheeting, garbage bags, plastic ties, nonperishable food, water, a blanket and a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

Some alarms to consider installing: wireless water alarms under sinks or behind the fridge that will sound if there is a leak, and a sump pump alarm that can detect water levels rising quickly and warn you of a potential flood.

You can also get an automatic shutoff valve for your water heater in case it leaks.

Go over your emergency plan with your family. This will include things like where to meet in the house or out of the house.

Lastly, get your major home systems inspected twice a year to make sure they’re in top shape to prevent them from being the cause of your emergency. You can’t control the weather, but you can control what shape your house is in.

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Have a concern with your electrical, plumbing or air conditioning? Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical is here to help! We offer 24 hour emergency service 7 days a week!  Give us a call! 1-800-461-3010 to speak with our customer service agents that can answer your questions or schedule an appointment!