Archive for December, 2016

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!

Updating Your Light Fixtures

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

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With a new year right around the corner, many people are considering how to start fresh in the year ahead — and that includes making improvements to their home. If you’re one of them, and you’re looking for one easy way to increase ambiance and useful lighting areas without breaking the bank, updating your light fixtures is worth consideration.

It’s amazing how proper lighting can make a world of difference in your kitchen and other areas throughout your home. Unfortunately, not only can old light fixtures appear dated, but be aware that they may also have become inefficient.

As you begin to assess what your needs are, there are some specific points to ponder. First, think about your other décor and the style you’d like. Just because you find a beautiful artsy light fixture at the store doesn’t mean it will fit well in your home. It may help to bring photos with you to talk with the retailer.

Also, installing dimmer switches on light fixtures and lamps allows you to adjust for your mood and tasks while helping save energy. If you’re shopping for these switches, note that dimmers come in two basic wiring configurations. If your light will be controlled by one switch, buy a single-pole dimmer. If your light or group of lights will be controlled by two switches, buy a three-way dimmer.

To make a significant improvement in your ambiance and useful lighting, under-cabinet light strips are a great choice for your kitchen or work area. Options include puck lights, fluorescent strips, LED strips, and LED rope or tape.

For reading areas without tables to place a lamp, simply install a reading light on the wall. For dark garages, attics, hallways or staircases, strategically placed motion sensor lights can improve your visibility.

A few final tips:

  • Add layers of light in one room to give you options as well as provide ambiance. For example, you can have lamps and ceiling fixtures all in the same room.
  • Clean lights bulbs make a difference! Dust them frequently.
  • Finally, remember it is always best to hire a professional if you don’t feel comfortable doing these projects yourself.

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!

Protect Your Pipes From Freezing

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

frozen pipes

 

Temperatures are dropping and along with the fun the winter can bring, this season can also bring on some big home headaches. As early as this week, temperatures are forecast to fall low enough for pipes to freeze, so now is the time to prepare.

The pipes that are most likely to freeze are those exposed to severe cold, such as sprinkler lines, outdoor hose bibs, pool supply lines, and water supply pipes in unheated indoor areas like basements, crawl spaces and garages.

Before the temperature drops:

  • Drain any water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines.
  • Remove, drain, and store hoses.
  • Close the inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs.
  • Open the outside hose bibs to let water drain and keep the outside valve open so any water in the pipe can expand.
  • Hot and cold water pipes in unheated areas such as basements, crawl spaces and garages should be insulated.

When the freezing weather is approaching:

  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let warmer air circulate around the plumbing.
  • Let the cold water drip — even just a trickle — from the faucet connected to exposed pipes.
  • Don’t lower the thermostat significantly at night or while away from home.

If your pipes do freeze:

  • Keep the faucet open. This will help melt ice in the pipe.
  • Use a heating pad, hair dryer, space heater or towels with hot water on the affected pipes. (Make sure to do this safely! Nothing flammable near space heaters, etc.)
  • Call a licensed plumber if you don’t know which pipe is frozen or can’t access it.

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!

Using Space Heaters

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

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If you’re trying to warm up a certain room, a space heater can be a great way to do that. However, the space heater’s effectiveness is dependent on you taking specific precautions while purchasing wisely so you don’t waste electricity (and money).

There are a few different types of heaters that can be used in your home. Electric space heaters are the only unvented space heaters safe for indoor use. They do not pose indoor air quality concerns, but can still be a fire hazard if not used safely. These should be plugged directly into a wall. If an extension cord is absolutely necessary, use a short heavy-duty cord of 14-gauge wire or heavier. Look for a tip-over safety switch that shuts the unit off if it is turned over.

Vented combustion heaters, on the other hand, are made to be put next to an outside wall so the flue gas vent can be installed through a ceiling or wall (unvented combustion units are not recommended for indoor use). Only use the approved fuel and do not overfill the heater or fill when it is still hot. It is a good idea to have a vented space heater inspected by a professional each year to prevent issues that can cause high levels of carbon monoxide to enter your home.

In addition, below are a few more things to consider when buying or using a space heater.

  • Look for newer models that have the up-to-date safety features. They should have the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label.
  • Only buy what you need. You don’t need a huge heater for a small room. Look for a sizing chart on the box.
  • Heaters should be put on level surfaces where they won’t be in anyone’s way. Always keep pets and children far away.
  • Kerosene heaters are not recommended in your home, and in some communities, may even be illegal to use.
  • Remember to install or check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms!

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!

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!