Archive for January, 2017

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!

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!