Archive for July, 2017

Efficient Cell Phone & Tablet Usage

Posted on: July 29th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

You can save energy—and save yourself from some headaches—if you can extend the battery life on your cell phones and tablets. These simple steps can make a big difference.

First off, check your battery use in your settings to see what your phone or tablet is doing. On most phones you can see a breakdown of what is consuming your battery. Usually, you can see the percentages.

Turn off any services you don’t use all the time, such as Wi-Fi, or GPS. Are these items running in the background even if you’re not using them? There are even apps to help you manage what programs run automatically.

Turn down the brightness. Most of use can see the screen without the high brightness. You can even put your device on night time mode set to certain hours of the day, which not only helps save battery but also—if it’s a warmer tone—this can help you sleep better because of what your eyes are looking at! Let’s be real—you’re still going to check your phone. So, at least put it in this mode to help your brain turn off.

Activate the lock screen after a minute or two of inactivity.

This is an easy one: remove your device from the charger and unplug the charger when the device is fully charged. If you don’t want the hassle, try a power strip so you can unplug all the items at once. This is great for those who have several items to charge. “Phantom Loads” waste more energy than you’d think and ultimately, more money!

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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!

Stylish Kitchen Appliances

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

 

If you’re thinking about upgrading your kitchen you might consider some options beyond the usual stainless steel appliances—what about something bold? Something unique? Some trends are popping up in kitchens that might grab your attention.

Panel-covered appliances create a clean look and are great for open-concept kitchens. Often, with the open-concept floor plan, kitchen appliances clash with the living room furniture and create a discord in style. With the panels, that issue is gone.

Brushed metal appliances are neutral and elegant. They look similar to stainless steel from far away, but because they are matte, they don’t get scratches and fingerprints all over them the same way.

If you can’t get away from stainless steel, how about black stainless steel? This has a softer touch but still has the durability you may be looking for. There is a wide range of styles that comes in black stainless steel.

Bold-colored appliances and quirky, retro designs make the kitchen look fun and inviting. Again, often bold hues won’t be as prone to scratching and fingerprints as the stainless-steel options.

Remember to properly clean and maintain your new appliances. Of course, with any appliances it is best to have a professional install if you’re not comfortable with the job. This is especially true if you need to change the type of outlet you have, you need additional wiring, you need a stove hood or vent installed, or if your fridge needs a water line hooked up to it for ice or drinking water.

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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!

Cool Your Pets Off Without AC

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

 

Maybe you don’t have central air conditioning or your AC is temporarily out, or maybe you keep your pets outdoors. What are some ways to keep your fur babies cool without central air? After all, that fur makes them feel pretty toasty!

For outside pets, make sure they have access to plenty of shade. Keep in mind that the sun moves throughout the day, so look for areas that have the most shade during all hours of the day. Give them plenty of fresh water and place water containers where your pet can’t tip them over.

Spill proof bowls are a good idea. Some bowls are even made to connect directly to a garden hose, and a pressure valve controls the amount of water in the bowl, refilling when it is low! Lastly, a “kiddie pool” kept in the shade and filled with just enough water to wet your pet’s belly is a fun idea to cool him or her off.

Indoors, use fans. Pedestal fans are great because they’re up away from the pets, and they can oscillate to distribute air around an entire room. However some pets do enjoy sitting in front of a heavy-duty floor fan that won’t tip over!

Window fans can be set so they are blowing out in order to help circulate air throughout a house. Close all of the windows except for one. Lastly, keep curtains and window shades closed during the middle of the day to keep the sun out.

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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!

 

Prevent a Failing Water Heater

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

 

It is a crucial part of your home and often completely forgotten about until a major issue comes up—the water heater. The main cause of water heater failure is age. The seam on the back of most water heaters rusts and deterioration happened generally between about 9 and 11 years.

What does this lead to? Typically, flooding. However it isn’t always a sudden burst—sometimes it is a slow leak that might be easy to miss if you’re out of town, not home much, or simply don’t go in the area where you water heater is very often (such as a basement.) It is a good rule of thumb to get a new water heater every 9 years or so.

While repairs and installations are best left to a professional, there are some steps you can take to help out this important piece in your house:

Get your water heater’s shut-off valve and all piping inspected once a year. Signs of broken valves as well as wet or loose joints and rust will be some signs that more severe damage is likely to come.

Getting your water heater flushed to remove the sediment once a year will help as well. Water heaters can be flushed by attaching a garden hose to the valve at the base of the water heater. Turn off the power and run hot water until it cools before flushing the tank since the heated water may be 140 degrees or more!

If you live in an area with hard water, installing a water softener can also extend the life of your water heater.

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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!

 

Go Green to Save Green 

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

 


Even if you don’t care much about the environment, going “green” can save you quite a bit of money! Here are a few ways you can save by making changes around your home.

Low-flow showerheads save on energy usage AND water. They can reduce your water usage by up to 60 percent.

Use a power strip with a switch to eliminate extra spending on powering up idle equipment. These little items add up and the cost is on average $100 each year!

Install a programmable thermostat. This will let you adjust the temperature automatically while you are sleeping or out of the house.

Insulating your walls, ceiling and floors will save you about 10 percent on your energy bills each year. Even if you already have insulation, look to see if you should add more in the attic or other areas you might forget about.

Install new energy-efficient windows. If you’re losing air out of the old leaky windows, you’re losing cash. In the winter the heat will escape and in the summer the cool air will escape. Changing the windows can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Fix leaky faucets. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you have a faucet that has one drip per second, that equals about 1600 gallons of wasted water, which is 35 dollars a year.

If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, washing machine or other appliance, look for Energy Star models.

To go green, you usually have to spend some money up front and put in some work. In the end though, you’ll pay off by saving thousands of dollars! Think about 5 or 10 years from now!

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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 Kitchens

Posted on: July 11th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

A great way to enjoy the outdoors is to step up your outdoor cooking game. What are some things to know before you undertake this big project?

An outdoor kitchen area can cost several thousand dollars, depending on what you want. A basic setup will typically include at least an island with counter and gas grill.

Some of the first things to think about are the weather and the weight of the appliances. For example, tile or marble flooring can get very slippery with rainwater or drink spills. You also want to make sure your flooring can hold up all of the weight.

Location is also crucial. Make sure smoke will not blow into your home from the grill. Look for an area that is easy to access, goes with the traffic flow in your yard, and isn’t near anything flammable. Also consider any future plans. Will you add a pool or a garden later on? These are all important things to consider.

Another consideration is how much room you’ll want. At the very least, you’ll need space on the sides of the grill for plates, etc. Will you want a sitting area or is there a separate table? Will more than one family member want to prepare food/cook at the same time?

Storage is also important. You’ll want enough space for all of the items you’ll regularly use. Keep in mind whether or not you’ll use the kitchen in the colder months or only in the summer. Waterproof, easy-to-clean materials such as concrete are best.

Appliances will also need to be made of weatherproof material such as stainless steel. When thinking about appliances, you’ll also need to consider water supply and electrical connections. An outdoor sink will need to be hooked up to a yard hose or the house’s water supply. It is best to have a plumber take on this work. An electrician should also make sure everything in your outdoor kitchen is up to code. A professional would also need to be called if you want a plumbed gas line for the grill.

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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!

Summer Energy Savings

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

 

Our wallets can take quite a hit during the hottest months of the year. So the natural question becomes, “How can you keep your energy costs low this summer?”

Turn you air conditioner to about 76 to 78 degrees, or whatever is the highest comfortable setting for you. You can even bump it up to 80 degrees if you’re away from home. A change of just a few degrees can save you 30 percent on your next bill!

Set your ceiling fans to the counterclockwise direction to help you cool off. Make sure to turn them off when not in use.

When you leave for work, close all the curtains. While home, close those on the sunny side of the house.

With everyone heading in and out during cookouts or family gatherings, keep the door closed as much as you can to keep the cool air inside.

Use the stove, microwave, or any other countertop cooking device instead of the oven when possible, as the oven uses a good amount of energy. Speaking of cooking, use glass in the oven if you have it– it holds heat better, so you can lower the temperature.

Turn off the pre-rinse option on your dishwasher and only run it when it is full.

For lighting, use daylight (but not direct sunlight) instead of artificial light, and turn off incandescent lights when they are not needed, as most of the energy they use is given off as heat.

Vacuum the air conditioning air registers to keep them from getting dusty. It is a good idea to do this regularly.

Keep lamps and TVs away from the thermostat, which can sense heat from appliances, thus cause the AC to run longer. Furthermore, reduce the use of appliances that generate heat.

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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!

Fix Your Running Toilet

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

 

If you have a toilet that keeps running, this can waste quite a bit of water and money. Let’s take a look at how to troubleshoot this.

Problems with the flapper are the most common reason for a running toilet. Turn off the water and drain the toilet, then look at the flapper. Adjust the chain if it is too long or short. A chain that is too long can get caught under the flapper, while a chain that is too short can pull up on the valve when it should not. You can use wire cutters if it is too long.

You’ll also want to look for any problems with the actual flapper, or see if it needs to be cleaned to help it seal better. You can soak it in a bowl of vinegar for about half an hour and then scrub it.

If the flapper is not the issue, check the water level. If it is too high, water will constantly be draining into the overflow tube in the middle of the tank that connects the tank and bowl. Look at it with the water running and the tank full, and see if water keeps draining into the tube. If so, you can adjust the water level by lowering the float.

Lastly, if those are not the issues, check the fill valve. Turn off the water, flush the toilet, disconnect the supply line, and purchase a replacement for the old assembly. You’ll have to replace it entirely.

One of the best ways to prevent common toilet issues in the future such as a running toilet is to replace the insides of your toilet’s tank every 5 years. Think of it as regular maintenance, just as you would maintain other appliances in your home.

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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!

Keep Cool Without Central AC

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

 

We all know central AC is great but can be expensive. What are some other options to look into?

Whole-house fans use 90 percent less energy than air conditioners, and typically cost less than $1000, even with installation. They draw cool morning and evening air through open doors and windows and force the hot air up through the attic and out the roof vents. Good places to put these are the upstairs stairwell or a hallway ceiling with 3 feet of clearance above the fan. The drawbacks are that the inside temperature will only go as low as the outside temperature gets, they can make allergies worse by drawing in pollen, and large fans need quite a bit of ventilation in the attic.

A window AC unit can cool up to 650 square feet, but windows need to be the right size and you’ll need an electrical outlet nearby. They only cost a few hundred bucks.

In-wall air conditioners are similar to window units, but they have vents on the back instead of on the sides and they sit slightly farther from the exterior wall. You will need to cut a hole in the outside wall of your home and may need a new electrical unit. They typically cost less than $800.

Portable air conditioners are easy to use but about twice as expensive than a window unit of the same size, and use more energy. They sit on casters on the floor and vent hot air through a hose running through a window, wall or sliding glass door.

A mini-split system air conditioner is sort of a hybrid of central air and a window unit. A small condenser sits outside and connects to an inside evaporator mounted high on the wall or ceiling. Installation is a bit more expensive than other options.

A few other options to consider: a ventilator fan installed in the wall or floor or a vent or duct booster fan, which sits on a ceiling, floor, or wall register.

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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!

Grilling Safety

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

 

If you’re planning to fire up the grill on July 4th, Labor Day or any other day this summer, make sure you don’t see fire anywhere but the grill by following some simple safety tips.

First and foremost, if you have a gas grill, check for leaks by putting a soap/water solution to the hose with a spray bottle and turning the propane on to see if bubble form. No bubbles = good. Bubbles mean that you should turn it off and check the connections. Also, check the connection points.

If you smell gas, turn off the tank and burners and get the grill serviced before using it again. If the smell continues though, call the fire department.

For charcoal grills, if you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Do not use other flammable liquids. Keep charcoal fluid away from any other sources of heat.

For electric charcoal starters, you’ll likely need an extension cord as their cords are short. Keep in mind that metal parts will be very hot! Hang it up where nobody will bump into it and make sure it isn’t near anything flammable.

If the rain starts or you’re too hot, do not decide to move your grill indoors or anywhere near the house, deck or low-hanging branches.

Keep excited pets and children away from the space around the grill and always have someone watching the grill.

Always clean your grill after using it so that grease or buildup doesn’t stick.

Let coals cool completely after you are done grilling, and then dispose of them in a metal container.

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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!