Archive for September, 2017

Warm Up Your Outdoor Space

Posted on: September 30th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

 

Enjoy the cool fall weather outdoors by adding some warmth to your porch or patio. In addition to bringing out some hot chocolate and cozy blankets, what else can you do to stay toasty while you and your guests enjoy the chillier evenings?

A portable patio heater is something you’ve likely seen at a restaurant or bar. It can also be used for your outdoor space. It will not take up much space and can heat up an area of up to 25 square feet. It is typically fueled by propane.

A fire pit can be simple or elaborate. You can buy a fire pit or get one built or make your own. Wood-burning pits are popular, but check your local wood-burning laws. If you use butane or gas, that will need to be hooked up by a professional.

A fireplace can be a beautiful focal point for a backyard. If you’re considering getting one, consider low-hanging trees and shrubs, any structures nearby and where the wind could blow the smoke.

chimenea is a simple option. It is made of clay or metal. You’ll want a sturdy one that has a spark screen. You can also get a chimney extension to help vent the smoke.

You can also get some heat—and delicious food—from an outdoor kitchen. You may also consider floor heating, which is typically used indoors but is being used outdoors now as well. Another out-of-the-box option is a hot tub. Both of these options would require professional installation and can be costly. The hot tub, in addition to electrical work, would also require plumbing work.

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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!

 

 

 

Clean Your Gutters

Posted on: September 30th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

The leaves are already starting to fall, and before you know it, you’ll have a yard full of red, orange and brown foliage. While it may be pretty to see, it can also be a big hassle. How can you get your gutters ready for fall and make sure they stay in good shape?

Fall means lots of debris in your gutters. Removing the leaves and other debris from your gutters will ensure proper water drainage. This is an often overlooked task that can prevent serious damage to your roof and home.

Clean your gutters at least once a year to make sure water drains well and away from your home to prevent damage to your home.

You’ll need a sturdy extendable ladder—preferably one with ladder horns so it won’t damage the gutters. You will also need a small hand shovel or something to scoop out the debris. If you want to protect your lawn, put out a plastic tarp underneath where you’ll be dumping all of the gunk.

Make sure you not only clean out the clogged gutters, but also the downspouts. Make sure the downspouts are still connected well and pointed away from the house.

After digging everything out of the gutters, flush them out with a garden hose. Check to make sure your gutter system does not have any leaks.

If you want to help prevent gutter buildup in the future, install gutter covers. These are typically mesh screens or clip-on grates. They should also be inspected and cleaned at least once a year, although they will cut down quite a bit on the work you’ll have to do with your gutters each fall.

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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!

Window Coverings to Warm Up

Posted on: September 25th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

With cooler temperatures around the corner, you might be getting your house prepared to heat up without spending as much as you did last winter on your energy bills. A simple way to make a big difference is by using window coverings strategically. The Department of Energy says that using window coverings can reduce heat loss by more than 70 percent!

If you have awnings, roll them up if possible during the winter to warm up your house. During the summer they can help keep your house cool.

Make sure your curtains and drapes are hung as closely as possible to the windows and fall to the windowsill or floor. Open your curtains and drapes in the winter to let the sun in during the day. At night, seal them at the sides and overlap them in the middle. Most standard curtains can reduce heat loss up to 10 percent, and even more if you use the above tips. During the warm months, do the opposite. Keep them closed.

Look for energy-efficient window treatments like thermal Roman shades. You can also look for curtains that have detachable thermal panels. You can even make your own if you’re good with a sewing machine. Speaking of do-it-yourself, wool curtains are also a great idea because wool is a very insulating material.

Window blinds are better at reducing summer heat gain than helping with winter heat loss because of the openings between slats.

High-reflectivity window films can help block the sun’s heat in the winter. The effectiveness will depend on the size, window orientation and building orientation and climate. For example, east- and west-facing windows will have better heat gain and will benefit more than north or south-facing windows.

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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!

Stove & Oven Energy Savings

Posted on: September 25th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

The kitchen is often the most-used room in the house. So how can you use less energy in the kitchen and save some money on your bill each month?

Make the best use of your oven—cook more than one thing at a time, and don’t use it if you can use a toaster oven or microwave instead, which use less energy. You can also see if you have some flexibility with cooking time—turn off the oven for the last few minutes and your food will still continue cooking, but you’ll save a little energy.

Use the correct sized pot or pan on the stove burners. If your pot or pan is smaller than the burner, heat is wasted. Use lids that are tight to help reduce cooking time. Pressure cookers also save energy.

If you’re looking for a new stove, go for an energy-efficient model. Standard electric coils are the least efficient. Stoves that use induction elements use less than half the energy of standard coil elements. However, these will cost more up front.

Ceramic-glass surfaces are another good choice. They use halogen elements as the heat source and deliver heat instantly and respond quickly to temperature changes. If you have a gas stove you can save energy with a lower the BTU output.

You’ll also want to look for energy-efficient models of all appliances, such as dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers. Of course, if you don’t need a new appliance, repair! If you do need a new appliance though, check to see if your area has a take-back program or a place to properly dispose of appliances.

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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!

 

 

Get Rid of Bathroom Mold & Mildew

Posted on: September 18th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

It’s the room where you get clean… but the bathroom itself is usually very dirty! With all of that water, come mold and mildew. Not only is it unsightly, but it an also be a hazard to your health and your home in large amounts. What are your choices if you don’t want to use harsh bleach? What other contributing bathroom issues do you need to look for?

Hot water with some soap and baking soda can remove mold and mildew. Mix one teaspoon of liquid soap with one cup of baking soda to make a paste, and add essential oils for a nice scent if you’d like. You can also mix a little bit of bleach in a spray bottle and use that as a finishing touch.

Vinegar is another item you probably already have in your home that is a great cleaning agent. Put white vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the area. Wait an hour, and then scrub. In addition, if you regularly spray vinegar on a surface prone to mold, it will help prevent it from growing.

Hydrogen peroxide in a dark spray bottle (to keep its effectiveness) can clean up mold and mildew. Simply spray it, leave for at least 20 minutes, and wipe clean. You can also add a bit of vinegar too.

While you’re cleaning up, take a look around your bathroom to see where mold and mildew might hide— like that cute whale faucet cover for your kids! Also, see if there are leaks that need to be addressed or if you’d benefit from adding an exhaust fan. Take steps to prevent major problems in the future.

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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!

 

Home Preparation for Emergencies

Posted on: September 18th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Hurricane season is in full swing and the time of year when most house fires happen is around the corner. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to go through your home safety checklist. Here are some things to check.

When we turn our clocks back we should change the batteries in our smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Set aside an hour to go through your whole house. Speaking of fire preparation, check to make sure you know where your fire extinguishers are and if an extinguisher has been used, you may need to replace it.  Also—go over your fire escape plan with your family.

Check to make sure you know where your first aid kits are—or make/buy some if you don’t have them. They should include bandages, gauze, tweezers, painkillers and anything else you might need if injured.

Other items to keep in a plastic box: duct tape, plastic sheeting, garbage bags, plastic ties, nonperishable food, water, a blanket and a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities.

Some alarms to consider installing: wireless water alarms under sinks or behind the fridge that will sound if there is a leak, and a sump pump alarm that can detect water levels rising quickly and warn you of a potential flood.

You can also get an automatic shutoff valve for your water heater in case it leaks.

Go over your emergency plan with your family. This will include things like where to meet in the house or out of the house.

Lastly, get your major home systems inspected twice a year to make sure they’re in top shape to prevent them from being the cause of your emergency. You can’t control the weather, but you can control what shape your house is in.

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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!

New Window Considerations

Posted on: September 10th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

If you’re looking to install new windows, you have plenty of options. It isn’t all about the style though—here are some things to consider.

First, your lifestyle and budget. Figure out how much you’re willing to spend. Also, think about your lifestyle. Do you have kids or pets? Do you have a view you’re looking for? What about the temperatures? Do you use window AC units?

Next, materials. There are three main options—wood, fiberglass and vinyl. Wood has a warm, natural look. It can be stained or painted. Aluminum-clad exteriors offer a durable finish. Fiberglass does a good job protecting your home against extreme heat and cold and can also offer the look of a painted wood window. These have a low-maintenance powdercoat finish. Vinyl offers energy efficiency and is affordable. These require no painting, staining or refinishing. In addition to materials, you’ll also have plenty of styles to choose from depending on what you like and what room you’re putting the windows in.

You’ll also look at various options for grilles, hardware, screens, trim for wood windows, finishes and colors.

When looking at glass, think about optimum energy efficiency. This means you’ll likely want two or three panes of glass. Look for windows with Low-E (Low-emissivity) insulating glass with argon between the panes that will help to block more of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Also, look for products that meet ENERGY STAR® requirements. High quality windows lead to less use of heating and air conditioning and thus, lower electric bills!

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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!

Dishwasher Efficiency

Posted on: September 10th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Washing dishes by hand actually uses more energy than putting a full load in the dishwasher. So don’t hesitate to use yours. However, using it the right way can save you a lot of money.

Before putting dishes into the dishwasher, scrape the bits of leftover food into the trash—not the sink. Not only will you save a little bit of water, but you’ll also prevent your drain from clogging. Over time, clogs in your pipes will cost a lot of money to clear out by a professional.

Only run a cycle when your dishwasher is full capacity. This is important even if you only have one or two people in your home and it takes a few days to have a full load. Some models have a rinse-and-hold feature to eliminate unwanted odor and caked-on food.

Energy companies typically charge more during peak hours, which are when energy is used most often. Start the dishwasher right before bed if you sleep on the late side, or use the delay or timing feature on your dishwasher to start it late at night or early in the morning. Another option is to start it when you first wake up. In fact, this winter if you run your dishwasher in the mornings it may help your heating unit. The small amount of heat created by your dishwasher can help in homes with low ceilings or small living areas.

If you using the aforementioned tip about using the ambient heat won’t help in your home, then let the dishes air dry. This cuts down on the energy used to heat your dishwasher.

If you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, look for an energy-efficient model. Regardless, most new models use a fraction of the water that older ones do.

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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!

Quick Ways to Freshen Up Your Home For Fall

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

 

 

Maybe you’re getting ready to have guests over and you’d like to spruce things up, or you’re just in the mood to make changes without shelling out a ton of money or spending all weekend on projects. If you’ve already tidied up a bit and want to do a little something more, here are some easy ways to freshen up your home.

With fall and winter coming up, you’ll need more light. Head to the store and switch out your 60-watt bulbs with 3-way bulbs so that you can soften light in a room. While you’re at it, look for energy-efficient bulbs, which will cost more but last longer and use less electricity.

Update your accessories. No, not your scarves and hats—we’re talking couch pillows and mantelpiece décor. Take a look at what you already have in your closet and then take a quick run to the store—even the dollar store has great stuff. Add some festive fall pillows and a comfy throw on your couch and get some pinecones, pumpkins, or whatever your heart desires for your mantle. This can change for each holiday or season—so have fun with it.

Frame and display your kids’ drawings. If you have kids, this is probably something you’ve thought about but never got around to doing. Spruce up a bare wall with your kids’ fantastic art. It’s sweet and will bring a smile to guests’ faces.

Clean your carpets—especially if people are staying the night in those carpeted bedrooms. If you have a carpet cleaner, this will be easy and shouldn’t take more than a few hours. If you have to rent one, it will take up a little more time and you’ll have to shell out on average about $30-$40. Don’t worry about moving large pieces of furniture such as dressers—just shampoo the areas that can be seen and that you walk on. They’ll look like new!

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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!

 

Common Home Toxins

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


We’re so comfortable at home that we typically don’t notice the parts of the house and items in it that can be harmful to us. Here are some common toxins and ways you can make your home safer.

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a plastic harmful to human health and the environment and is often found in everyday items such as inflatable toys, mattresses, shower curtains, bath mats, plumbing supplies and flooring. PVC is a known carcinogen that contains phthalates and other compounds that can interfere with development and damage the liver and respiratory and nervous systems. Look for hemp or organic cotton shower curtains, and wood, bamboo, cork, or real linoleum flooring. Try to see what your mattresses and toys contain. Avoid fake leather.
Coal Tar Driveway Sealants contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are toxic compounds that can cause cancer or other genetic mutations. When rain hits your driveway, the toxic chemicals run off into your yard and drinking water supply. Gravel and other porous materials are better alternatives. If you do seal blacktop, pick asphalt sealant and stay away from any product that has coal tar in its name. (Many big stores have already banned it.)

Synthetic Pesticides—chemical weed and bug killers—are best avoided both in the house and yard. They have been linked to cancer and an array of other issues. Indoors, try sealing up cracks and cleaning up any food remnants. Alternatives for the yard include neem oil, pyrethrum, and diatomaceous earth, depending on what insects you want to get rid of. To prevent mosquitoes, dump any standing water and use a natural spray such as those containing garlic.

It is almost humidifier season, and while they’re helpful, if they aren’t kept clean they can disperse microorganisms and minerals into indoor air, causing problems especially for those with asthma and allergies.

There are many more hidden toxins that could be in your home—such as harsh cleaners. It is a good idea to take a look around and see what changes you can make.

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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!