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!

Make Your Home Greener

Posted on: January 8th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Today there are plenty of “greener” choices when it comes to your home. Whether you’re trying to help the environment or just want to save money, here are some ideas to get you started.

  • 13334874691845924070House in the Sun.svg.medSwitch to CFLs or LEDs. They cost more up front but use far less energy and last much longer. Plus, incandescent bulbs are being phased out in stores.
  • Take a look at items that are constantly using energy in your home while plugged in, such as kitchen appliances, computers, chargers, printers, etc. It only takes a moment to unplug!
  • If you’re in the market for new appliances, look for the Energy-Star seal. They may cost a bit more up front, but using these can slash a third of your electric bill!
  • Insulate your attic. The attic can be as much as 50 degrees warmer than the other parts of the house. You can also look into an attic fan, which will help reduce the amount of energy spent on heating and cooling.
  • How many of us really know what is in the cleaners we use? Typically, it’s a bunch of stuff we can’t even pronounce. It’s easy to make safe, homemade cleaners out of vinegar, water and baking soda.
  • Seal gaps around doors and windows. You can save 10 percent on your electric bill by installing weather stripping to fill the gaps. You can choose from cheaper foam rolls or the more durable plastic option.
  • Fix leaky faucets and toilets. Not only is wasted water literally going down the drain, but also these issues should not be ignored, as leaks can lead to more costly repairs in the long run. For example, your pipes may end up needing to be replaced.
  • Install low-flow showerheads. According to the EPA, showering accounts for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use. Look into low-flow toilets as well. These are the main source of water in the home– nearly 30 percent of
    water use!

 

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!

Wiring for Your Home Office

Posted on: January 3rd, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 
imagesMore and more people are working from home. You can have the best speed and performance in your home office if you set everything up properly and don’t cut corners.

You’ll likely need high-speed Internet and networking. Structured wiring is a data delivery system that can carry phone, fax, broadband, networking, and video/television technologies. The system has three parts: a panel where outside service enters the home, wires and cables throughout the house, and connecting hardware. You can get a prepackaged system, but that means you may have wasted outlets or no outlet where you need one. It is a good idea to develop a home-office plan before you wire. Figure out where the computer, printer, phones, and media will be set up and where conference calls will happen.

The system is installed the same way regardless of whether you have a new construction or are remodeling. The preferred method is the “star” layout, where each outlet extends individually to the service panel. This will allow for flexibility and help to figure out any problems. There are options for older homes so you don’t have to open up walls. Wires can be fished through walls.

If you’re not comfortable doing such a big project on your own, hire a professional. Not only do you want it to be installed correctly but you also want to make sure you have create necessary flexibility to accommodate future expansion. Costs vary, but the system typically ranges from about 1 to 3 percent of a home’s value.

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!

Light Bulb Choices Explained

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

 

light-bulbs-e1451664022212CFL, LED, incandescent… what’s the difference between all of these types of light bulbs? And what works best for your home? In short, the most energy-efficient options are Compact Fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. They emit the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs but have lower wattage, so they use less energy.

While using less energy is the goal for many people, each type of bulb has unique characteristics. To learn more about each type, read on.

Compact Fluorescent (CFL)

CFLs can save you up to 75% on your energy costs, last up to 9 years, and are less expensive than LEDs. They do contain a small amount of mercury, but that is not a concern unless they break, in which case the mess needs to be cleaned up thoroughly and should not cause worry.

Some CFLs are for outdoor use — just check the packaging. CFLs are not recommended for workshop-type areas of the house because they might not hold up to the stress of power surges. Last but not least, if your outlet is wired for a dimmer, you must buy a CFL rated specifically for that, otherwise it can be a fire hazard.

Light Emitting Diode (LED)

LEDs can save you up to 80% on your energy costs, last up 20 year or more, and are more expensive than CFLs. They do not contain mercury.

Some LEDs are also for outdoor use. LEDs can help you save on air conditioning because they do not contribute to heat buildup.

Some companies are phasing out CFLs and planning on going to LEDs.

Incandescent

Standard 100-, 75-, 60- and 40-watt incandescent bulbs are being phased out. Specialty incandescent bulbs, such as chandelier bulbs, will still be available. Incandescent bulbs only last about 1 year. They do not contain mercury.

Other types of bulbs include halogen bulbs, HID bulbs, and fluorescent bulbs.

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 Makeover for Less

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

On average, a bathroom remodel costs about $9000, but the range can be significant. Here are some ways to update yours without spending too much.

  • imagesChange your sink faucet. Turn off the water supply (valves are typically under the sink). Next, turn on the faucet to relieve any water pressure. Disconnect the supply lines from
    the faucet and the lift rod, and then remove the nuts from under the faucet. Unscrew the slip nut on the P-trap. Put a bucket underneath to catch water. Disconnect the drain flange from the tailpiece. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for the new faucet.
  • Change your tub faucet. Again, turn off the water supply. Open the faucet and drain the water. Unscrew the screws that attach the handles. Pull the handle away from the wall to expose the valve. Unscrew the entire stem from the bathroom pipes. You’ll want to take the whole faucet to the store to pick out a new one.
  • Put in some new hardware—a curved, double-rod shower curtain, towel hooks, or cabinet handles can make a big impact.
  • Add in some storage space to reduce clutter. Look for unused areas on the wall or between things.
  • Paint and/or add crown molding.
  • Change your vanity light fixture.
  • Create a new frame for the mirror.

Remember, if you run into any issues with your plumbing or electricity during the renovation, this will add onto the cost. If, however these are things you’re not comfortable with doing yourself, it’s best to hire a professional from the beginning to avoid further complications once you’re in the middle of a project.

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!

Winterize Your Sprinkler System

Posted on: December 23rd, 2016 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

 

images-3Did you know that water can remain in your irrigation system even after you’ve drained it? If that’s the case for your system, that means it could potentially freeze and expand during the cold winter months, then crack the PVC piping. Even with the more flexible polyethylene pipe, it can still expand under pressure and water inside can rupture the pipe walls.

To avoid this happening, implement the winterizing techniques like those listed below. If you don’t know what type of system you have its best to use the blowout method.

Manual Method and Automatic Method: 

  • If manual valves are at the end and low points of the irrigation piping, use the manual drain method. Shut off the irrigation water supply and open all the manual drain valves.
  • If automatic drain valves are at the end and low points of the irrigation piping, use the automatic drain method. Shut off the irrigation water supply (in the basement) and activate a station to relieve the system pressure.
  • In both methods, after the water has drained, open the boiler drain valve (or the drain cap on the stop and waste valve) and drain all the water that remains. Open the test cocks on the backflow device. If your sprinklers have check valves, pull up on the sprinklers to let water drain out of the bottom of the sprinkler body. When all the water has drained out, close the drain valves.

Blow Out Method: 

This method involves blowing out an irrigation system with compressed air. It is best to hire a professional to perform this type of winterization method as it takes particular knowledge as well as stringent safety precautions.

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 Your Roof Winter Ready

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

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With a few days left of 50-degree temperatures, now is the time to check your roof’s condition before harsh winter weather hits. Grab a friend or family member and some sturdy shoes and head on up.

  • If you think you have a leak and the temperatures aren’t going to be low enough to freeze, take a hose up with you and spray to find the leak. This may be time-consuming, but don’t be discouraged, it will be worth it.
  • Clean the gutters again. Plenty of leaves have fallen, so even if you’ve done this once, you may want to check it again because you won’t want to be out there in the snow and freezing cold!
  • Check for dry rot. The plywood may deteriorate if a repair is in the middle of the roof, and the roof will sag and the shingles will crack and then leak. You can prevent this with a ridge vent and soffit vent.
  • Look for proper ventilation and consider rain and ice shields, as well as a drip edge to prevent ice buildup.
  • Do not overlook the rubber boots. You may need a new one because if they dry up they will cause major leaks. To install, you may need to remove some of the shingles and put a better layer of tar underneath.
  • Check the shingles and nails — and don’t forget about the valleys which are common places for leaks.
  • Remove any overhanging tree branches in order to dry out roof mold.

 

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!