Common Home Cleaning Mistakes

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

 

Inevitably, when you have company over for the holidays, someone will spill red wine on your carpet or drop food onto the floor or counters. If you want to be prepared, take a look at some of these common cleaning mistakes many people make — and learn what to do instead.

images-5Don’t scrub that spill on the carpet — this can actually make it worse. Instead, scrape up as much as you can with a spoon (if you can). Blot the spot with a clean white paper towel or cloth and blot until dry. In addition, could place a pile of books on top of the towels and change them out frequently. Then treat the spot with a stain remover.

Natural cleaning agents like lemon juice and vinegar can be used on many things — but not everything. These acids can damage natural surfaces such as marble, limestone and onyx.

Not all cleaners are disinfectants. If a product has an EPA registration number it is a disinfectant. (It will say something like EPA Reg No.). Also make sure you leave the cleaner on the treated spot for the recommended amount of time.

Practice caution when using abrasive tools. The heavy-duty cleaning sponges can scratch surfaces such as plastic or ceramic cooktops. The magic erasers may damage surfaces like vinyl flooring.

Be aware of what you type of surface you are spraying directly with cleaning products. For glass, wood, stainless steel and electronics, spray a small amount onto a microfiber cloth then wipe the surface. Use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess liquid.

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!

Maintaining Your Water Heater

Posted on: December 2nd, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

water heaterYou do not want your water heater to break down at this time of year — well, any time of year really, but definitely not when you need a hot shower after a cold day! Did you know that water heaters typically last for a decade or more?
If you maintain yours, it can last even longer. So how do you make sure yours is in good condition and when you need a new one?

An easy way to keep you water heater in good working condition and save money every month is to dial the temperature down. (This is also a good safety measure if you have young children that could easy turn the handle on a tub and burn themselves with hot water!) You’ll find a setting dial on your water heater—either a knob on the gas valve or thermostat behind an electric water heater panel. Dial it down to 115 to 120 degrees. This will not only reduce energy used to heat the water, but also protect the tank from overheating.

Test the T&P (temperature and pressure) relief valve. All you have to do is lift up on the lever part way and let it go so it will snap back. You’ll hear the water being released into the drain tube. If it did not do anything, it needs to be replaced.

Every year, conduct a mini flush. Sediment at the bottom of the tank leads to rust and inefficiency. All you have to do is put a bucket under the drain valve near the bottom of the water heater tank and turn the valve counter-clockwise to release a few gallons of water into the bucket. Sometimes you can do a full flush, but that requires more work and shutting down your water heater.

Finally, if your water heater does not heat efficiently and/or constantly needs repair, look for a new one. A new water heater is typically about a thousand dollars, often less.

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!

Christmas Tree Safety

Posted on: November 30th, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

christmas wishesThe sight of a Christmas tree in your home can bring fond memories and a feeling of happiness and excitement. With this piece of holiday decor, though, comes the potential for hazards. Below are a few tips to help make your holiday a safe one:

  • When shopping for a natural tree, look for a tree with vibrant needles that don’t break easily and are hard to pluck. You’ll want one that looks hydrated and the trunk should have sticky sap. All of this means the tree will be less of a fire hazard.
  • Wait to buy your tree if you can —those that are cut early in the season are more likely to dry up before the holiday season is over!
  • Make sure your tree stand can hold plenty of water—preferably at least one gallon. Cut two inches from the base before putting the trunk in, and make sure to water daily.
  • If you take the artificial tree route, choose one that is tested and labeled as fire resistant.
  • Electrical ornaments and lights should not be used on artificial trees that have metallic leaves or branch coverings.
  • Make sure your tree is at least 3 feet away from sources of heat such as fireplaces, candles, heat vents or space heaters.
  • Don’t use lit candles on the tree.
  • Don’t use any strings of lights that have broken cords or any loose bulb connections.
  • Don’t connect any strings of lights that are not supposed to be connected together.
  • Only use lights that are specifically made for indoor use and check that the lights have been tested by a qualified laboratory.

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!

Hot Tubs for Cold Winter Months 

Posted on: November 27th, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

During the cold months of winter,images the idea of soaking in a steamy hot tub sounds like a dream. Getting one for your home, though, comes with some expenses and takes preparation. If you’re thinking about splurging on this big-ticket item this holiday season, here is what you should know:

You’ll want to consider where you’d like to put the hot tub and what type you’d like, as some are heavier than others and may require more support than currently exists in that location. Furthermore, the hot tub will need to be at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines and 5 feet from the spa panel.

You will need to install a breaker in your electrical control box. Keep in mind that sometimes warranties are voided if a professional electrician does not install the electrical circuit. Often it also needs to be approved by a building inspector.

Prepare for hot water costs—on average, an electric hot tub uses about 2,500 kWh per year. What does that mean? Well, it’s enough to run more than six refrigerators for about a year. Yikes! So, you’ll want to make sure you have an energy-efficient cover and that it is in good condition. When shopping for a hot tub, look for one that has plenty of insulation and uses an efficient variable speed pump or two-pump system.

Most hot tubs are self-contained, so plumbing won’t be as difficult as the electrical work.

Overall, you’re looking at a project that will cost you several thousand dollars, but in the end, if done correctly, can be a great addition to your home.

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!

Updating Your Kitchen for High-End Appliances

Posted on: November 21st, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

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Professional-style kitchen appliances are becoming increasingly available and popular in everyday homes. If you’re considering upgrading your kitchen by installing these types of appliances, there are some things to consider and tips to make sure it’s all done safely.

First, think about your kitchen size. Many kitchens will simply be too small for these items. You will need about three feet of space for the refrigerator, three feet of freezer space and four to five feet for a commercial-style range. Also, some of the ranges are very heavy and require a special base. Many manufacturers do offer smaller models, so check their specifications.

Consider the burners and ventilation hoods. Many high-end ranges and cooktops have burners that can exceed 20,000 BTUs and require hoods that can handle up to 1,200 CFM. This is almost 10 times the typical amount. To ensure proper ventilation, add up the total BTUs of the range burners, divide by 100, and then you’ll get the number of CFMs needed. For example, a range with a total output of 70,000 BTUs should be equipped with a hood capable of moving 700 CFMs. This will help prevent issues with heat, grease, smoke and moisture.

Houses with high-power hoods may need to install an air makeup unit to replace the air that the ventilation is removing from the home. This is because the removal of too much air can be dangerous with the use of
chimneys and furnaces.

Lastly, any customizations involving electric extensions or plumbing work is best handled by a professional if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing.

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!

Thermostat Use & Savings

Posted on: November 17th, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

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It’s about that time of year when many of us see a big increase in our electric bills… all because we’re trying to stay warm. Using your thermostat wisely though, can help you stay comfortable while also saving money.

A simple tip—lower the temperature just by a degree or two. Each drop of one degree for an 8 to 10 hour time period equals a drop of your energy bill of about one percent. Over time you may easily get used to a drop of 3 or 4 degrees.

Skip the fan “on” setting. If you always run the fan motor, this can increase your bill by $20 or more each month. Instead, the “auto” setting only runs the fan when the system is running. The “on” setting can be used once in awhile if you find some spots in your home are cooler than others.

Consider a programmable thermostat. You can adjust the times that the heating is on with a pre-set schedule. You’ll want to consider the household’s daily routines and when people will not be home. You can also manually override it.

Take a look at the location of your thermostat in your home. It should not be close to drafts, direct sunlight, doorways, windows and furniture.

When going on vacation for a long period of time you can lower the temperature but make sure to keep it above about 55 degrees to prevent issues such as pipes freezing if the temperature outside drops quickly.

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!

Prevent Home Burglaries

Posted on: November 16th, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

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It’s not something we like to think about, but with a home burglary happening every 13 seconds in the U.S., it’s a good idea to take simple steps to deter criminals. Here are some good starter tips:

  • Lighting is crucial. Install plenty of lighting all around the outside of your home. This goes beyond just turning on the front porch light every night. It is a good idea to have floodlights with motion sensors on every side of the home. You can also use timers that turn on at dusk and off at dawn. If you don’t have electrical wiring in some areas, hire an electrician or consider battery operated LED lights.
  • Speaking of lighting, keep some lights on if you won’t be home for a long time so that it appears someone is home. A TV or radio isn’t a bad idea either. You can even use a timer to mimic human activity.
  • It is easy to leave windows open for much longer than intended when you just wanted to get some fresh air in during those stuffy winter months. Make sure to always close them and lock them back up.

Some additional tips:

  • Use a heavy-duty deadbolt on your front door.
  • Store your valuables in a heavy safe, or even fasten it to the floor.
  • If you don’t have a safe, at least keep your valuables out of sight.
  • Don’t advertise what valuables you’ve recently purchased with their boxes sitting out by the trash—people can easily spot that big TV box and know what you have inside your home!

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!

Holiday Lights and Electrical Safety

Posted on: November 13th, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

christmas wishes

Many of us are already taking out those boxes of holiday decorations or starting to shop for new décor. With all of the lights, though, come safety concerns. How can you make sure you’re lighting up your home without risking fires or electrical injuries?

  • Before getting started, plan your displays. Look for outlets and figure out what you can reasonably do before you go into a decorating frenzy.
  • When shopping, make sure the product has a label showing that it has gone through independent testing by a recognized lab, such as UL or ETL.
  • LED lights are more energy efficient, last longer and are more durable than incandescent lights.
  • Don’t use items intended for outdoors inside, or vice versa.
  • Make sure you’ll be notified of any recalls by sending in the product registration forms.
  • Inspect older decorations for any loose or damaged wires or connections.
  • Unplug before replacing bulbs or fuses.
  • Make sure cords are not pinched in windows, doors, etc.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets with too many items at once.
  • Do not connect an extension cord to another extension cord or place them in high traffic areas or under furniture, carpets or rugs. Do not run them through walls or ceilings.
  • Do not connect more than three strands of incandescent lights together.
  • Outdoor lights should be plugged in to circuits that are protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).  (You can buy portable GFCIs.)
  • Protect lights from the wind by fastening them to firm surfaces but make sure this is not done in a way that could damage the cord’s insulation.
  • Turn off all holiday lighting before going to bed each night.

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!

Keeping Your Oven & Stove Clean and Safe 

Posted on: November 9th, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

You can almost smell the turkey and stuffing now. Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Before you have everyone cooking up a feast in your kitchen though, think about when you last cleaned your stove and oven and checked things out. This can increase the longevity of your appliances in the long run. If things are looking pretty dirty, you may even want to do these things before the big day.

First, avoid using abrasive materials that could scratch surfaces and oven cleaners with harsh chemicals—especially if you have kids and pets. Instead, loosen the stove gunk with baking soda and water. As for the knobs, you can wash them with water and soap, but don’t use water around the area where they’re attached to the stove. (Water + electrical stuff = bad)

With regard to the oven, unplug before cleaning. You may want to avoid the auto-clean setting if your oven is pretty gross, as this can end up setting off the smoke alarms and making things worse. Remove the racks and coat your oven (not the heating elements) in a paste made of ½ cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water. Let it sit for 10+ hours then wipe it out. You can also spray some vinegar on top of the baking soda at this point, to aid in the de-greasing.

What about the oven racks? Put them in a bathtub and cover them with hot water. Add dishwasher detergent and leave them soaking for 4+ hours. Then use a scrub brush on them.

Take a moment to look at the coil burners and replace any that are damaged in any way or have a spot that is redder, which means it will soon burn out.

If you recently bought a new gas oven, it’s a good idea to get someone to replace the gas line. Changing out the oven can cause leaks in the gas line after all of the movement.

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!

Breathe Happy with Air Filters 

Posted on: November 4th, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

indexAir filters for your HVAC unit remove dust, pollen and debris from the air before blowing it into your home. Most need to be cleaned or replaced monthly not only to keep the air clean, but also to keep your system working efficiently. To find replacements that will fit your unit exactly, you may want to contact an authorized dealer, as generic filters can lead to poorer efficiency. However, if you’re getting filters at your local store, here is what you will find:

Flat-paneled fiberglass air filters:

Fiberglass air filters consist of a disposable filter made of layered fiberglass. These inexpensive air filters primarily provide protection for heating and cooling components and are not great for cleaning the air.

Pleated media filters:

Pleated media filters collect more particles. They are similar to fiberglass filters but the pleats increase the surface area and make the filters more efficient at capturing particles.

HEPA filters:

These filters offer the best air quality control because HEPA products filter air at a very fine level. However, most residential HVAC systems are too large or restrict airflow and can’t accommodate HEPA filters. You may consider switching to HEPA filters, as it will significantly improve your indoor air quality. This will likely require calling a heating and cooling professional to retrofit your furnace.

Lastly, washable air filters are another option but are more costly up front and can be a hassle to maintain, especially because it’s critical to let them dry thoroughly and so that they don’t get moldy.

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!