Types of Water Filtration Systems

Posted on: February 16th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

We all need water. We all want clean water. So if you want to be sure your family has the cleanest water, what type of water filtration system should you purchase? It depends on how much you want to spend, what contaminants you want to remove, and how much work you’re willing to commit. Here are some of the primary choices:

Carbon/Activated Carbon: There is a wide range of carbon filters. Some only remove chlorine and improve taste and odor. Some remove a wide range of contaminants, including asbestos, lead, mercury and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Keep in mind, though, that activated carbon cannot effectively remove common “inorganic” pollutants such as arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium, nitrate and perchlorate.

Ceramic: Ceramic filters have small holes throughout the material that block solid contaminants such as cysts and sediments. They do not remove any chemical contaminants.

Deionization: These kinds of filters remove mineral salts and other electrically charged molecules (ions) from water. They cannot remove non-ionic contaminants (including trihalomethanes and other common VOCs) or microorganisms.

Reverse Osmosis: This process pushes water through a membrane that blocks particles larger than water molecules. It can remove many contaminants not removed by activated carbon, including arsenic, fluoride, hexavalent chromium and nitrates but doesn’t remove chlorine, trihalomethanes or VOCs. Many systems do include an activated carbon component. Reverse osmosis filters use 3-to-20 times more water than they produce, so they are only used for drinking and cooking water.

Water Softeners: These devices typically use an ion exchange process to lower levels of calcium and magnesium. They do not remove most other contaminants.

When shopping, if you’re looking to remove a particular contaminant, verify that it is certified for that contaminant by a reputable, independent agency.

Also, read the fine print. Some filters are labeled “NSF certified.” This is a reputable company, but its certifications are not all the same.

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 Hazards Often Overlooked

Posted on: February 15th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

 

Every homeowner knows the list of home repairs and maintenance is never ending. Although it may be daunting to think about everything needed to maintain your home, it is important to remember things that are easy to overlook. Here are some hazards to keep an eye out for that can wreak havoc on your health and your wallet if not addressed.

Improper dryer exhaust venting causes thousands of fires every year. Over the years lint buildup restricts the airflow in your dryer, which leads to increased fire danger. It is a good idea to regularly check your aluminum vent hose to make sure it is not crushed or kinked. Once a year is a good rule of thumb. Also, clean your vent line regularly. If you are not comfortable trying it yourself, call a professional.

An inefficient water heater is another commonly overlooked problem. Not only will it reduce efficiency and lead to higher bills, but a faulty water heater can also be unsafe. It has the potential to explode, damaging your home and possibly hurting people. Inspect it regularly, and again, if you don’t know what you’re doing, call a professional.

Leaky plumbing may not be top of mind, but it wastes a lot of water and leads to unnecessarily high bills.  Furthermore, leaky pipes, or other water-related issues such as clogged gutters, can lead to water damage as well as mold and mildew. A plumber can fix these problems before they get worse.

Lastly, environmental threats such as asbestosradon gas and lead paint can damage your home and your health. You can test for these things on your own with an at-home test and a specialist can direct you towards the course of action you need to take if you need.

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!

Hiding Unsightly Power Cords

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

 

Maybe you’re tired of looking at a tangled mess of cords around your TV stand or under your desk. Or, maybe you’re trying to make your home safer (especially important with young children). What are some ways you can hide your electrical cords? Here are some options:

  • First, unplug the appliances, clean up around the area and untangle! You can label the different cords with bread clips or pieces of masking tape that you can label and wrap around the cords.
  • You can clip the cords together with binder clips if you want a hassle-free solution and don’t mind if it doesn’t look perfect. Or, you can use a cord spiral wrap to make the cords blend in better with your background.
  • Use packing tape to affix the cord to the back of a table leg, TV stand, desk, etc. Or similarly, use adhesive hooks/clips.
  • If you have many electronics on your nightstand, put a power strip inside your top drawer to hide it all.
  • A creative, yet simple solution, is to use a box of some sort to put all of the cords into and sit it on your desk, TV stand, or other surface. This won’t hide the entire length of the cords but will make a big difference.
  • If you don’t mind a little bit more work, get a paintable cord cover. Measure the wall to figure out what length you need. You may cut it if needed. All you have to do is mount it to the wall and put the cords in, then paint the cord if you wish.
  • If you don’t mind even more work and you’re very tech savvy, use flat wire on the wall and paint over it. This is exactly what it sounds like—wiring that is flat instead of round. Low-voltage wires look like copper strips encased in film, so they are safe to touch.
  • Lastly, if it’s a wall-mounted TV you have — while probably the most labor intensive but most effective — you can feed cords from your TV through your wall where they will be hidden. If this is the route you choose, you may wish to engage a professional electrician to help.

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!

How To Fix a Leaky Faucet

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

 

It’s the annoying reality of being a homeowner. You will have issues you need to address, and there isn’t a landlord to take care of it for you. Plumbing is a common area in which homeowners see problems — especially, the trusty leak faucet.

So what steps can you take when you have a leaky faucet? First, turn your water off to all parts of the sink and take off any decorative parts of the handles/knobs.

Next, loosen the screw that connects the handle to the stem of the knob. (You’ll need a flat-head screwdriver.) Once you remove the screw, you can use WD-40 if needed to help take the handle off. After that, unscrew the packing nut with a wrench. Then remove the stem. (Some pop off easily while others need to be twisted.)

If everything so far looks good, take a look at the O-ring and washer inside the valve seat, as they are commonly the cause of leaks. Remove the washer and put in a replacement. Make sure the replacement washers and O-rings fit exactly. Check to see if the sides fit a flat or cone-shaped washer. It’s not a bad idea to take the old O-ring to the store to make sure you get the right size. Another option is to buy a packaged set that includes many different sizes.

You’ll then put everything back together—washer/O-ring, stem, packing nut, screw, handle. Then test to see if you have fixed the leak. Turn the water back on and turn the knob slowly.

If the faucet is still dripping then it may be corrosion in your valve seat. If time has passed and it has not been cleaned it can lead to leaks near the spout. Other common issues include loose parts or worn-out seals. If you cannot figure out the issue, or even if you can, but know you cannot fix it, call a professional plumber. It is best to not wait too long as these issues only get worse.

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 Automation

Posted on: January 27th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

2016-05-16-1463362284-229977-connecthomWith “smart technology” you can have it all these days. Besides your coffee being brewed before you wake up, you can have lights turned on automatically, and doors locked from a swipe on our phone. What are some ways you can make your life easier if this is something you’ve been thinking about?

Lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to make your home a “smart” home. A basic automation system lets you set vacation timers when you’re away, connect lights to morning alarms and set motion detectors outside. All of this can be connected to a smart phone or tablet.

Media centers are another popular choice. With an automated media center you can consolidate your entertainment needs into one location. Some smart devices let you to stream different media in different rooms at the same time.

Your HVAC is also a great aspect of the home to consider making “smart.” A smart thermostat will cost you a few hundred bucks but save you money in the long run. It knows when you leave the house and automatically adjusts the temperature to a predetermined baseline. It also lets you adjust the temperature of your home with a smart phone or tablet — tailored to your schedule if you so desire.

Security is another area in which people are going “smart.” Smart locks connect with your smart phone and automatically lock or unlock depending on your location, while working with your other existing smart-home systems to create a safer 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!

Furnace Efficiency Ratings

Posted on: January 24th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

UnknownDid you know that the efficiency rating for your heating system will help you figure out how much it will cost you to heat your home? A higher rating is ideal — it means that a greater amount of heat is provided for the amount of energy used.

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating indicates how much heat the furnace produces compared to the amount of energy required to produce the heat. For example, if a furnace is rated at 80 percent AFUE, 20 percent of the energy used is lost, and 80 percent actually becomes heat.

By finding out this information you can decide if it may be time to upgrade your system. Contact the manufacturer or search on their website to find your model.

Here is how the efficiency ratings for systems break down:

  • 56-70% efficiency (typically older models)
  • 80-83% AFUE- mid-efficiency
  • 90-98.5 AFUE- high-efficiency

Keep in mind that the AFUE rating does not account for potential heat loss through duct work. Ducts can lose a lot of heating efficiency.

High-efficiency furnaces use two heat exchangers. Condensing units remove water from exhaust gas and then send the gas through a second exchanger. The combustion units are sealed. Condensing furnaces are generally about 10 percent higher in efficiency ratings than non-condensing units. These systems are more expensive initially, but you can save a great deal of money over the long term in fuel costs. An HVAC professional can help you decide what is best for your home and lifestyle.

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!

Prepare for Power Outages with Standby Generators

Posted on: January 21st, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

imagesLosing your power is never something anyone wants, especially during the winter months. For some homeowners, a lapse in power is a minor annoyance while for others it can be life threatening. For this and a variety of other reasons, a generator may be a wise purchase for your home.

While you may already have a portable gasoline-powered generator (or have thought about getting one), you may want to consider upgrading. A standby generator can energize your home for days. This is especially useful during extended power outages.

A great option for big families, standby generators are especially beneficial for those with young children or elderly relatives who may rely on medical equipment run by electricity. When looking at sizes, remember that the higher the generator’s capacity, the more circuits it can power. Think about what you’ll need to power.

The standby generator is permanently installed in your yard and is connected directly to your home’s electrical panel. It is powered by an external fuel supply, such as liquid propane, natural gas, or diesel. When you lose power, an automatic switch will start the generator. When power comes back on, the switch shuts down the generator and reconnects your home to the grid. The switch prevents back-feeding electricity, which is unsafe and can start fires.

Look for a trustworthy professional to install yours. The person will need to assess your load needs based on what you’ll want to run electricity to and the starting wattage of appliances that rely on motors. The person will also assess all of the logistics. Keep in mind that you will need some space: it will need to be several feet away from home openings and flammable materials.

If you do end up using the generator, get it serviced if it runs for 24 or more hours continually. Check the engine oil daily while it is being used and run it at less than 75 percent of its rated capacity.

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!

Save on Your Water Heating Bill

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

 

images-4Heating your water accounts for the second largest part of your electric bill, after space heating and cooling. For most consumers, that amounts to about 12 percent of their monthly bill. But most people love hot showers, particularly when it is cold out! So, how can you reduce your bill?

  • Unfortunately, you may want to give up your weekly bubble bath. Taking a shower — a short one, at that — will save a lot in the long run. You may even consider turning off the water for a minute while lathering up or shaving. (This is also a good idea while brushing your teeth or scrubbing dishes.)
  • If you’re already thinking about buying a new clothes washer or dishwasher, look into ENERGY STAR items. These dishwashers use 31 percent less energy and 33 percent less water. The ENERGY START clothes washers save families on average $135 per year. Look for post-holiday sales at a time when stores are likely not selling as much as they were a month or two ago.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only is this safer, especially if you have young children, but it also saves you money. For every 10-degree reduction, you can save up to 5 percent on your water heating costs.
  • If your shower head or faucet is old, it may use twice as much water as newer models. Look into installing low-flow shower heads and faucets.
  • Installing a heat trap on your water heater tank can save you up to $30 on your bill. It is best to get a professional to do this.
  • Insulate your water pipes and your hot water tank.
  • Install a timer to turn off your electric water heater at times when you don’t use it.
  • Use cold water for most of your laundry loads. Wash only full loads in the clothes washer and the dishwasher.

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!

Getting the Most From Your Heating System

Posted on: January 16th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

imagesThis is the time of year when most of us see skyrocketing energy bills and are reminded of our to-do list when it comes to checking and maintaining our heating systems. Here are some of the big items to put on your list:

  • Change the filter at least every three months. Change it every 1 to 2 months if you have pets or people in the house with health issues such as asthma. Filters prevent larger particles from entering the system, which would reduce airflow. In addition, a dirty filter exposed to condensation can become damp, meaning mold could be a concern. Make sure to buy the right filter for your particular system.
  • Check that your air ducts and pipes are properly sealed. Ducts are used to distribute conditioned air through the house. Typically about 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the system is lost through leaks, holes, and poorly connected ducts, which means high energy bills!
  • Remove any dirt or corrosion, and keep the heat exchanger clean. Check manufacturer’s details for what you’ll need. This is best done by a professional if you aren’t sure of what you’re doing.
  • Lastly, an easy tip you or a family member can do is to keep air vents clear and keep furniture away from them.
  • Of course, regularly get your unit serviced by a company you can trust, like Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical! Start 2017 off right by calling us.

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!

Start a Compost This New Year

Posted on: January 12th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

UnknownIf you’re looking for a way to make use of all of those holiday leftovers going bad in your fridge, or perhaps seeking to start a new project in the new year, how about composting? It adds nutrients to your lawn and garden, helps protect your ground, and introduces healthy organisms to the soil. It also lets you make use of waste instead of throwing it out or shoving it down the sink and possibly clogging up your pipes!

Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Use a container with a lid or a specific compost pail and keep it under the sink for your kitchen waste. Leaves and grass clippings are also great     for compost.
  • Start your compost pile on bare earth. Then lay a few inches of twigs. Add the compost materials in layers, alternating the moist and the dry materials. Food scraps are moist ingredients and leaves, wood ashes, etc. are dry materials.
  • Keep in mind the pile should have both carbon matter and nitrogen matter. Carbon matter should be the larger group. This includes branches, dried leaves, bits of wood, coffee filters, egg shells, straw, etc. Nitrogen matter includes food scraps and lawn clippings, green leaves.
  • It is a good idea to add manure to activate the compost pile and speed up the process.
  • Keep the pile moist and cover it with wood, plastic sheeting, or even old carpet pieces. This will help to keep in the moisture and heat and to prevent it from being over-watered when it rains. (The ideal is moist but not soaked.)
  • Every few weeks turn the pile with a shovel to aerate it.
  • Whenever you add in new materials, mix them in instead of adding them in layers. You can also purchase a composter. A rotating composter makes the process very easy.

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!