Archive for December, 2017

New Year Organization

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

 

It’s New Year’s resolution time and a great time of year to start fresh. It’s also a time when we often have a lot of stuff cluttering the house—new toys and clothes, wrapping paper, boxes and that box of items you’ve been meaning to give away.  How can you get started organizing?

First, purge. This can easily take weeks or months, but if you want to keep it simple, stick to one closet or room at a time or think about what is taking up the most space in your home and focus your efforts there. Ask yourself: have you worn/used it in the last year? If you were shopping today, would you buy this?

Install hooks in the bathrooms and bedrooms. A rod in the bathroom will only hold one towel—hooks will hold many. Hooks in the bedroom will hold hats, bags and other items. If you have room, you can install some in the closet as well.

Make each closet serve a specific purpose. It is easy for many different items to start cluttering the closets. Make things easier by choosing one closet for cleaning materials, one for blankets and towels, etc.

Shelf dividers, cubbies and thinner hangers will help you organize and save some space. See what is taking up the most space or doesn’t have a proper area and go from there.

Light up your closets. LED lights and track lighting and motion detector lights will make a big difference when you’re getting dressed on those dark mornings.

Put your holiday items away and label their containers.

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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!

 

 

 

Things That Lower Resale Value

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

 

You may love your home or maybe you see some flaws, but either way, there is plenty to think about when you’re looking to sell. There are some common things that turn many buyers away that you may want to consider if you have the time and resources to make changes.

If you don’t have enough bathrooms or if they are not placed well it can be a turn off for buyers. You need an adequate number relative to the number of bedrooms and they should also be located in convenient areas of the house. You wnt at least one bathroom on every level of the house. Adding an entire bathroom can cost thousands of dollars, but it makes an impact just to put in a half bath. Also consider upgrades to existing bathrooms such as a new vanity.

Distinct décor and colors can put some people off. If you have some bright colors in your rooms or very particular styles, consider making more neutral changes. Conservative is always best.

Some “green” items can be an asset, such as “smart” technology or solar panels. However some don’t want to take on the lease for the panels or the maintenance. Some “green” items such as rain barrels or composting toilets can be a turn off to your average buyer. Think about who will likely want to buy in your neighborhood.

Other things like an awkward layout or a swimming pool may cause your home to sit on the market for longer than expected. Don’t let that deter your from buying what you like, but keep these things in mind when you are looking to sell.

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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!

 

Winter Weather Preps

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

With the coldest months of the year coming up, what can you do to prepare your home for the very low temperatures as well as winter weather?

If you didn’t do this while cleaning the gutters in the fall, trim your trees. No, we aren’t talking about decorating the Christmas tree. Any branches hanging over your house can be weighed down by ice and snow and eventually fall onto your house.

Wrap your water pipes in insulation. Freezing and expansion not only means you might not have running water, but it also means the pipes can burst from the pressure. Also, make sure you know where the water shut-off is in case of an emergency.

Check the items in your garage to make sure they’re winterized. Hoses, lawn mowers, etc. all need to be taken care of over the winter months.

Block drafts. Not only will this help your electric bill, but it will also keep you cozy. This is especially important in older homes or if you have ill-fitting frames.

If you have drafty windows but can’t afford to replace them, get an insulation kit or try caulk or weather-stripping.

Check that nothing is blocking your vents. Don’t forget the air intake vents, because if they’re blocked this can lead to expensive repairs.

Check outside the house for loose siding, shutters, etc. Tighten them up so that strong winds and ice don’t strip them off.

Reverse your ceiling fans to a clockwise rotation to help circulate the hot air near the ceiling back into the room. Most fans should have the option of switching.

Get your furnace inspected. Don’t wait until you have an emergency. Many issues can go undetected until it’s too late.

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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!

 

 

Do you Really Need to Preheat?

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

Most recipes say to preheat the oven. Is this really necessary? It is easy to waste energy on preheating when you think you’re supposed to do it… and especially if you have guests over for the holidays and you lose track of time while chatting. It is NOT necessary in all cooking.

For baked goods such as biscuits, cookies, pastries or cakes you should preheat because these items can easily turn out poorly if you don’t. These need to be cooked all the way through. If your oven starts out cold, you’ll run into issues with leavening and cooking properly. Think about it: these are typically baked at high temperatures for a short period of time.

For most other items though, you don’t need to. This is especially true for large items that cook for a long time such as turkey or ham. Keep in mind that without preheating you cook your food at a lower temperature as your oven heats up for the first few minutes, so you may have to bake slightly longer.

Gas ovens—especially older versions– heat very quickly. However, the temperature inside the oven can fluctuate quite a bit and the heating is often less even. Gas ovens are typically more humid than electric or convection ovens because the combustion of the gas releases moisture into the air of the oven. This can lead to issues with browning and crisping baked goods. You can battle the hot spots by rotating your trays at least once while cooking. If you’re baking on several trays, swap the top and bottom trays as well.

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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!

 

 

 

 

Holiday Home Hazards

Posted on: December 12th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

It’s the most wonderful time of year, but with all of the festivities you bring into your home comes the potential for injury to people or damage to your home. Lights, trees, candles, décor and even all of that food cooking can be a hazard. What are some things you can do to keep it all safe?

Put your Christmas tree away from doors and areas where people will walk a lot or animals or small children can get to it. Keep it away from any sources of heat! If you have a real tree, but 2 inches from the bottom of the trunk and make sure you have a sturdy stand.

Your holiday lights may be festive, but they can also be dangerous. Turn them off before bed. One extension cord should only have up to 3 mini lights sets or 50 screw-in bulbs at the most. Do not run cords under rugs and make sure they’re in areas where people will not be walking.

Don’t place any decorations (or anything, really) near candles. Blow them out before bed.

Watch your fire in the fireplace and don’t let anything get near it. Again, make sure it is fully out before going to bed.

If you have any space heaters or a portable patio heater outside, place them out of the way. As with everything else, turn them off before bed.

Keep an eye on your cooking. It is easy to get caught up in talking, greeting guests at the door, and enjoying your glass of wine. House fires are at their peak in the winter not only because of heating mishaps, but also because of the kitchen.

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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!

 

Holiday Plumbing Issues

Posted on: December 12th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

With everyone coming over for the holidays, how can you avoid any major plumbing issues when there are many more people in the house using the toilets and sinks more than usual?

Before guests arrive, make sure there is a plunger in each bathroom. If you have a clogged toilet, a plunger will often be the solution. If you need extra help, use chemical drain cleaners or a drain snake. Turn off the water to the toilet first.

If you have a clogged drain, try a chemical drain cleaner, then a snake pipe, then if those don’t work, check the j-trap, which is the J-shaped pipe under your sink. Take it apart to see if the clog is in the j-trap. If it isn’t, the clog is further down the line, and you will need to call a professional plumber.

Be mindful of what you’re putting down the garbage disposal. (Don’t put eggshells, grease, etc. down it.) If yours does get clogged, though, you’ll notice that it is taking longer than usual to work. Your blades may need to be sharpened. You can do this by running a few ice cubes through the disposal. You can also press the reset button on the bottom of the unit.

If you don’t have hot water or the unit is leaking at the base, your water heater is broken. This means you’ll have to call a plumber. If your water heater is working, though, but you’re running out of hot water, it could be caused by sediment in the water tank. You will have to flush the unit. It could also simply mean your water heater is getting old. Of course, it could also be due to more people using the water than usual!

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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 Laundry Shrinking

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

 

We’ve all been there—you pull out your shirt or dress or pants from the dryer and see that they’ve shrunk. How can you prevent this? And what do you do if it happens?

It may sound simple, but don’t wash your clothes—or at least those that tend to shrink—very often. The more you wash and dry, the more shrinkage will likely happen. In the colder months, wear under layers so that you can keep your beautiful sweaters and blouses clean.

Wash with cold water, which is not as damaging on the fabrics as hot and warm water. This will also save you some money on heating water.

Use the gentle cycle. This is especially important with cotton, wool and cashmere. Furthermore, hand wash very delicate items.

Air dry your clothing. Loosely woven or knitted items can be rolled out in a towel and left on a flat surface. Don’t hang clothes on hangers because the weight from the water will make the clothes stretch. At the very least, dry on a low setting and take clothes out when they are still a bit damp. This will also save you some money on your power bill and lengthen the life of your dryer.

Wool and cotton items in particular can shrink easily. If you have an item that has shrunk, take the item and soak it in lukewarm water mixed with a capful of baby shampoo for ten minutes. Do not rinse. Squeeze the excess water out and lay it out on a flat surface to dry. While it is still damp, gently stretch the item back to its original form.

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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!

 

 

 

Remove Snow Without Damaging Your Home

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

 

You might be dreaming of a white Christmas, but when we actually do get snow, how do you clear out your driveway, walkway, porch and deck in a way that won’t damage your property?

Make sure your equipment is ready to work. Use the correct fuel for your products to make sure you don’t permanently damage them. Drain the gasoline tank when equipment won’t be used for a month or more.

Remove large amounts of snow in layers and before it is packed down by cars and walking.

Don’t use ice picks on driveways or sidewalks because they can damage the surfaces.

It is helpful to stake the driveway with markers before the snow hits.

As for de-icing products, some may damage the flooring in your home or your plants, and some may harm your pets. Here is what you need to know:

Sodium chloride (rock salt) is common and cheap. However it doesn’t work well if the temperature is below 25 degrees. It can also leach into soil, changing the chemical balance and bringing it to a toxic level.

Calcium chloride is not as harmful to your land but can leave a residue that can be damaging to tile and carpeted flooring as well as your pet’s feet. It is much more expensive than rock salt but you use much less. It also works well at extremely cold temperatures.

Calcium magnesium acetate is even more expensive than the aforementioned options, but it is salt-free and biodegradable. It is not harmful to the environment. It is less corrosive to concrete than salt.

To keep yourself safe, don’t bend at the waist, because it puts too much pressure on your back muscles. Lift with your legs apart with your knees bent and back straight. Shovel small amounts at a time.

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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!

 

 

Signs Your Water Heater Will Fail

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


Your water heater will give you signs that it is about to fail. Pay attention to make sure you are prepared.

Rusty water coming from your water heater can be a sign that it is rusting on the inside and might leak soon. Check if the water is only coming from the hot side piping in your home. If you have galvanized piping, though, it may be your pipes that are rusty. Do a test by draining several five-gallon buckets of water out of the water heater. If the water is still rusty when it comes out after several buckets, the water heater is most likely the issue.

If your water heater is more than 10 years old, think about replacing it. Look for the serial number on the manufacturer’s sticker. This is on the upper portion of the water heater. The serial number will have the date that the water heater was manufactured. Typically, the first letter will represent the month. For example, “A” means January, “B” February, and so on. The two digits after that represent the year. For example 06 means 2006. If your code doesn’t look like that, check with the manufacturer.

Listen for rumbling or banging as your water heater heats up. Sediment builds up over time up on the bottom of the tank. As it is heated, it will harden after years. This is a sign that your water heater is not going to last much longer.

Look for moisture around your water heater. You might have a small leak or fracture in the tank. Heated metal expands, so a fracture would lead to leaks. When the metal has cooled the inner tank will stop leaking. Make sure the overflow pipe is not leaking. Check the fittings or connections to the tank. If they are dry, you may need to replace your water heater soon.

There are ways to help prevent a failing water heater if yours isn’t on its last legs, including inspections twice a year.

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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!