Archive for April, 2017

Smaller Mudroom Options

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

 

Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical in North CarolinaWith spring showers come muddy dogs and wet shoes. One trendy home improvement project is creating a mudroom. What can you do though, if you don’t have much space, time or money? What are some easy ways to make a small area that acts as a “mudroom”?

One of the most popular ways to create a mudroom-type area is to clear out a space in the garage. You can add sheetrock to bare walls and install hooks, and bring in a bench with outdoor fabric-covered.

If you have a hallway that isn’t used, this can be a great option. You may need to look at narrower benches, but it can make an otherwise unused area very useful. If you have a closet to spare, this can be a mudroom area. You can replace the rod with hooks and shelves.

A nook or corner of a room can also be a great space for this project. Just take a look around your home to see what might be an option.

For any of these areas, keep lighting in mind. Is this area near a window so that you’ll have natural light? Are there outlets available? An easy way to add lighting to an area that doesn’t have outlets is by adding motion-sensing LED lights. Often you don’t even need a drill—just peel and stick!

Another tip— consider an exhaust fan to help with ventilation and preventing the growth of mildew. If you aren’t comfortable installing this, hire a professional.

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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!

Outdoor Project Safety

Posted on: April 28th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

When you’re working on your spring outdoors projects, take precautions. Every year people end up in the hospital for simple mistakes that could have easily been avoided. In fact, most injuries happen on your own property. Here are some simple tips to help you be safe.

  1. When using electrical appliances, stay on dry ground. Keep all of your equipment away from pools, sprinklers, hoses, wet ground, or any standing water. You can also use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help protect against electrocution.
  2. As soon as you hear thunder, that means lighting is not far off, even if it is not storming at the moment! It is best to head inside. Don’t risk your life by trying to stay out for a few more minutes to finish your project.
  3. Make sure your extension cords are in good condition, and are rated for outdoor use. Also check that they are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the item you’re using.
  4. When using lawn tools, protect yourself from debris by wearing close-fitting clothing, eye protection and sturdy shoes. Also, remove objects such as sticks and stones that would be in your way.
  5. Do not fill tanks with gasoline while machinery is on or still hot. Do not smoke around gasoline.
  6. Before climbing trees, look for power lines overhead. This is especially important when using an aluminum ladder, which is an excellent conductor of electricity.
  7. Before installing a fence or planting trees, call 811. This free service will tell you where buried utility lines are located. This is crucial so you don’t knock out lines to your house or your neighbor’s house.
  8. It is spring allergy season! Wear a dust mask if you suffer from allergies. This will help filter out mold spores, pollen and other potential allergens.

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!

 

Going Green Around Your Home

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

 

This month’s Earth Day reminds us that we as Americans generate a huge amount of trash—an average of 4.4 pounds per person each day. So what can we do to reduce waste to not only help the environment, but help us save money too? Frankly, start questioning everything you own and everything you regularly buy:

  • Limit or cancel paper subscriptions. If you have subscriptions, then magazines, catalogs and newspapers can stack up quickly.
  • Reduce and reuse packaging. When you do buy things, try to buy in bulk and buy things with as little packaging as possible. Also, use reusable grocery bags. Lastly, buy recycled items. Glass, paper, metal and plastic items are often recycled materials.
  • Recycle. Give things away to charity and make use of your regular recycling service. Books, clothing and kitchen ware are great items to donate.
  • Maintain and repair your appliances. The goal is to get as much life out of these items as possible and maintaining them will make a big difference in their longevity.
  • Reuse things as much as possible. Wear clothes again, use the same towel all week, and reuse jars, old rags, etc. for other purposes around the house.
  • Monitor energy use. Turn off lights when you can, unplug things, adjust the thermostat up or down, and consider energy-efficient items and solar energy if you’re looking for even bigger long-term changes.
  • Be aware of water use. Take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and wear things more often before washing. It takes energy as well as wear and tear on your pipes and system to pump water through the home and down the drain. It also takes energy to heat it and treat it to make it drinkable.

It starts with simple, small changes. Once you start taking a critical look at your home and your lifestyle, you’ll see there is plenty you can do.

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!

Avoiding Tree-Planting Disasters

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

 

Planting pretty trees can spruce up your yard and allow for privacy in certain areas. Before you get started on this project, here are a few things to think about:

  • Take the location that you want to plant the tree(s) into strong consideration. Choosing the wrong spot can lead to issues not only with your land, but your power lines, plumbing/sewer lines and your home’s foundation, driveway and sidewalk. Think about how large your tree will eventually grow.
  • Plant trees away from overhead power lines, other large trees, and the house’s foundation, driveway and sidewalks. Growing trees can make concrete crack. A four-foot distance or more is usually a good rule of thumb. You might be tempted to plant trees near the home for shade, but consider how large it will grow.

 

  • Call 811 to schedule an underground utility inspection. This is free for homeowners. It will prevent you from digging through an underground utility line, which could knock out power to not only your home, but your neighbors’ homes as well! This is also a great service to use if you want to put up a fence.
  • Don’t forget the lateral—the underground sewer line that connects to your home—is filled with water. Tree roots naturally grow towards this line and then thrive on the sewer line’s contents. Furthermore, soil shifts and can crack sewer lines. Damage can ultimately lead to sewage backups in your house.*
  • Stay atleast 10 feet from lateral and 20 feet from under ground pipes and utility lines when planting.
  • You can get your home surveyed (or check the survey documents if it has already been done) to find the sewer lateral on your property. You can help protect your sewer line with a root barrier. Types include: growth inhibitors (chemicals which stop further root growth), deflectors (physical barriers), and traps (screens and sheets.) It is best to consult a plumber before using these.
  • Keep in mind that some types of trees have less aggressive roots than others and water your trees well so roots don’t need to grow out in search of water.

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!

HVAC Spring To-Do

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

 

Spring is one of those times of the year when you can generally look forward to lower electric bills, as it isn’t too hot or too cold. It is also a great time of year to make sure your HVAC is ready for the summer.

When it is a nice day out, take your hose and wash the exterior condenser unit off to remove dirt and debris from the area. (Turn off the power first and remove leaves and branches from the metal pieces along the exterior.)

Indoors, sweep and dust the area around the indoor unit to help prevent allergens. While inside doing all of that, also check the ducts, condensate drip pan and drain, evaporator coils, and air handler for signs of mold. Small amounts can be cleaned on your own, but hire a professional if you have a big mold problem, as it can cause serious health issues.

Before it gets too hot and sticky, head up to the attic to check that the insulation is near 10 inches thick and provides a good cover in all parts of the attic.

Change your system filter at least once every few months, or every month if you have pets and/or allergies. There are also specific filters that do more than the average filter—look for those geared towards reducing allergies, if that is a concern.

Lastly, have a professional inspect your system twice a year to prevent any major issues popping up suddenly and to ultimately, save you money and time.

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 Updates 

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

 

If you’re considering updating your bathroom, where should you focus your efforts? What are the most useful and most common changes that will really make an impact? It is easy to get overwhelmed and try to do it all. How about starting with these ideas instead?

1 – If your countertops are dated, this can be a great area to tackle. Look for natural stone or engineered quartz for a modern look, or for a very inexpensive change, paint your countertops. Neutral colors are key, no matter what type of material you decide to use.

2 – Glamour light bulbs are a definite sign of an older bathroom. Lighting is an inexpensive and easy way to make major changes. LED sconces or a bathroom bar with frosted shades will look more modern. If you’re not comfortable with installing new lighting yourself, hire a professional.

3 – Bathroom fixtures that are beige or bone colored, or brass fixtures that have become dull over the years need to go. Nickel, chrome or white fixtures will look much more up-to-date.

4 – Carpeted flooring has to go. Not only is it unsightly, its also unsafe because it is a breeding place for mold, bacteria and damage from moisture. Look for natural stone or ceramic tiles. Another popular option these days is laminate or ceramic that looks like hardwood. For a soft place to step onto after your shower, simply add a cushy bath mat.

5 – Old bathroom cabinets can be upgraded with paint or refacing or you can go for a total replacement if it is in your budget. Again, neutral colors are the way to go.

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!

Don’t Skip These Home Upkeep Items

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

 

Your home maintenance checklist could include dozens and dozens of items, and you can easily get overwhelmed thinking about all of these things. You can, however, skip some of the smaller items or delay them. Others you don’t want to skip. So prioritize: What are some of the most important things to get to this spring and summer, if you only have a limited time?

Fix the caulking around your tub or shower. If it is damaged (cracks, peeling edges and discoloration) it can let water seep into hidden places such as behind your tub. Not only can this damage walls or floors, but it can also lead to mold growth.

Dripping faucets mean money right down the drain. Leaks will only get worse with time. It is often a pretty quick fix, like simply replacing a seal. Even if you have to replace the entire faucet, it will last a long time.

Warmer weather means insects! Seal holes where they can get in to your home. Look around the foundation and around wires and pipes. While you’re at it, check for sources of standing water. Keeping water and moisture away from the home keeps bugs away too, since they need it to survive. (Another reason to fix those plumbing issues mentioned above.) Termites in particular cause billions of dollars in property damage each year.

Get your HVAC system inspected and cleaned regularly. Once every 6 months is a good rule of thumb. This is one of the biggest and most expensive parts of your home to repair or replace if it is neglected.

Replace your furnace filters. It’s easy to do once every few months. This is especially important if you have pets and/or allergies and asthma, in which case you should replace it every month.

Seal your windows properly. Exterior caulk often dries out in the summer, which causes gaps and cracks. All of that cool air will leave your home and empty your wallet! All it takes is some caulking and weather stripping.

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!

Sprinkler Tune Up

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

 

Get your lawn off to a great start this spring by making sure your sprinkler is in good shape after the long winter. Furthermore, an efficient sprinkler will save you time and money over the long, hot months.

First, check the irrigation controls and programs. Check the time and date on the timer and the settings to make sure they are what you want for your lawn. Generally 3/4 inch of water per irrigation cycle is recommended, which moistens the soil around 8-9 inches deep. Replace the battery in the timer if needed (it is a good idea to do this every year.)

Make sure the sprinkler heads are free of dirt, rocks or any other type of debris. Try to keep obstacles out of the way. All of that debris can disrupt the flow of water, which cannot only mean an uneven flow, but also wasted water— and money.

If the sprinkler heads or nozzles, valves or pipes are worn out, cracked, chipped or otherwise damaged, replace them. Valves are especially important because if not working properly, they can lead to a lot of wasted water. If you notice any muddy areas or too-wet areas when testing the system, it probably means you have a leaky valve.

Turn on the water and do a test run. Open the water valve slowly to let pipes fill gradually to prevent a big surge of pressure and thus, damage. Too much pressure can lead to cracked pipes, broken valves, leaks and watering that is not even or efficient. A water pressure gauge can measure your pressure in your house and your yard. You connect it to a hose faucet and if the pressure is above 40-65 PSI, you may need to install a pressure regulator or to fix any damage that you think may be causing it.
Think about additions to help your system. A rain sensor can keep you from over-watering. It will prevent your system from watering right after a heavy rain.


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 Your Unfinished Garage

Posted on: April 2nd, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

You’re looking around at your unfinished garage and realize you need more outlets and lighting. Before getting started, keep a few things in mind: If you are leaving the walls and ceiling open, you’ll have to use the framing members to protect and support the wires. Do not span stud or joist spaces with wires, and keep the cables closely hugging the studs, plates and ceiling joists.

Always make sure you’re doing everything safely and up to code. If you’re just not sure, don’t hesitate to bring in a professional electrician. Lastly, if you plan to close up the walls later on, you’ll have to rewire. So, what’s next?

You’ll route the cable along studs, top plates and ceiling joists, along the framing member that leads to the next box. Keep cables on vertical surfaces—not on the tops of walls. Plan your wiring and put up all the electrical boxes.

Next, run a cable from one box to another by pulling cable off the coil, stripping at least 8 inches of sheathing off the wires and threading the wires and about 1/2 inch of sheathing through the wire opening in the box.

Untwist the cable and staple, staple, staple! Do this at least every 4 feet to the framing, preferably more.

When you get to the next box, stretch out the cable and mark the entrance point on it, cut the cable about a foot long, strip the sheathing and feed the wires into the box. Nail in the staples near the box.

NOTE: You’ll have to hold all wires at least 1-1/4 inches from the back and front surface of studs and joists.

Electrical boxes may have metal or plastic cable clamps that are built in. Many duplex boxes only have knockouts. Staple cable within 8 inches of boxes without clamps and within 12 inches of boxes with clamps.

And don’t forget: If your garage has a wall made of concrete or is already dry walled, cable installed on these exposed surfaces has to be protected by conduit.

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!