Archive for the ‘electrical’ Category

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!

 

Set Up for Odd Shaped Rooms

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

It is more or less impossible to find the perfect house. So, for many of us, we are stuck with one oddly shaped room in the house that we don’t know how to set up and decorate.

How can you work with the shape? Take note of where your cable outlet and electrical outlets are located. (Also look for the phone jack if you have a home phone.) This will dictate many of your furniture and set up choices.

Look for lighting. Windows and overhead lights will be your starting points. Then, if you need more light, look for the outlets. Lighting will help determine you set up, as you’ll want more light in reading areas or spaces where people will gather. You may also want a variety of lighting options to change the mood of the room as needed.

If you have a fireplace, it is often a good idea to make that a focal point. It doesn’t have to be the only focal point in a very large room, but rather can be the center of a cozy gathering area.

Look for a space that you can make into a conversation area. Don’t line up the furniture along the walls. This is particularly important if you have a very large or oddly shaped living room. You can make separate the room into two spaces used for different activities, such as watching TV, reading, or sitting with guests. Some easy ways to do this are using furniture, such as a bookcase turned on its side (use it for display) or a couch. You can also use a rug to make a certain part of the room feel cozy and separate. (Gather the furniture around the rug.)

Place your anchor furniture and move the pieces around to see what flows best. A coffee table, chairs and a sofa are good places to start.

Don’t be afraid to try different set ups and take a step back to reevaluate.

If you need to add more built-in lighting or electrical outlets, it is best to contact 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!

Light Up Your Home

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

 

Whether you’re sick of tripping over things in the evenings or want to create a certain ambiance, lighting can make a huge impact in your home. Different types of lighting will work best in different rooms. What should you consider for your home?

General lighting, also known as ambient lighting, helps to create the overall mood of your home. When you are looking for general lighting, first take note of your other lighting systems in the room to make sure additions or changes will flow well. For example, you don’t want dim overhead kitchen lighting with overly bright cabinet lights. Recessed lighting is a good choice for your everyday tasks as well as to accent a room.

Accent lighting brings attention to the features of your home, such as interesting architecture or artwork. Track lighting is a good choice for this purpose. Track lighting is easy to install and versatile since the direction of each head can be individually adjusted.

Task lighting is what you want in work areas, such as around countertops and tables. For desks, a simple desk lamp will likely suffice. For the bathroom mirror, you can get rid of shadows by placing vertical fixtures on both sides of the mirror.

Think about smaller areas as well. Adding some pantry, cabinet and closet lights can make your daily routine smoother. Fluorescent light fixtures under the upper kitchen cabinets will offer bright light without producing heat.

It is crucial to make sure your lighting plan is functional and easy for your lifestyle. You don’t want a remote-controlled closet light if you’re the type of person who loses things easily.

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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!

 

Repurpose Your Dining Room

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

 

You may be getting a lot of use out of your dining room during the holiday season, but what about the rest of the year? If you don’t typically use it as a place to eat, you might be thinking about reworking the area of better fit your needs. Plenty of families use the space for homework, paying bills, storing items, etc. most of the year.

If you don’t mind a big project, look into an expanded kitchen. We spend plenty of time in the kitchen, so adding more space where the family can gather makes sense. Knock down the walls connecting the kitchen and dining room (get a professional) and make one large space! If you don’t want to go that far, you can simply put an island or shelving in your dining room for food or storage of pots, pans and other items.

Another easier option than knocking down walls is to transform the dining room into whatever room is needed. If you need a play area, make it into the kids’ toy room. If you want to use it as a game room, go for it. If you use the space primarily for homework or bills anyway, why not turn it into an office? This can be a very inexpensive project. Remember, there is no rule that you have to have a formal dining room or that you have to use the space as intended. Think outside the box. You will need to consider lighting and electrical setup. You may need to add extra lighting or change the lighting, or get creative with how you arrange the furniture.

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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 Your Home Ready for Thanksgiving

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

 

Getting your home ready for Thanksgiving—and all the holidays that follow—can be exciting, but also a huge chore. However, you don’t have to scrub your house from top to bottom. With a few tasks, you can get your house ready for all the people and of course, the food.

A week or so ahead of time, schedule your biannual HVAC inspection and cleaning to make sure it is in top shape before everyone arrives. The last thing you need is for your heating to go out.

The main area to focus your cleaning on is the kitchen. Wipe the counters, sweep the floor, empty the trash, and make sure all the dishes are clean and put away. If you don’t want to have a huge pile of dishes to do later, make sure to get some paper plates and disposable cups/silverware. Make your home smell like fall by boiling a few orange peels and cinnamon sticks and then letting it simmer.

Make space for extra tables and chairs if needed, and if there will be kids, make a space for them to eat and play as well. Cover the electrical outlets if there will be babies or toddlers.

Prepare as much food as you can ahead of time, especially if you’re the main cook.

Clear out a place for guests to hang coats and bags. If you don’t have a coat rack or enough room in the closet, make a bed in one room and designate that as the coat bed.

If you’ll have overnight guests, wash the towels and bed linens and make the beds.

Clean the bathroom that guests will use.

Vacuum in the areas where guests will be.

Lastly, put on some music and pour yourself a glass of wine!

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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!

 

 

Mystery Wall Switches

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

 

You flick the switch—and—nothing. Whether you’re going through the rooms in your new house or you would like to finally figure out that one switch in the home you’ve lived in for years—how do you do it?

A switch in a kitchen cabinet may be for a garbage disposal. Sometime appliances like this have been removed, but the switch is still there.

Gas fireplaces often have a hidden switch.

Look in your attic if the switch is near it. It may turn on a light or exhaust fan in there. Exhaust fans have a thermostat that can as a secondary switch to turn the fan on only when it is hot in the attic. It may seem the switch works in the winter.

Usually furnaces and air conditioning handlers are connected to a circuit breaker or pull-disconnect in a metal box, but sometimes it is a simple wall switch. If you accidentally flick the switch, the system will not run.

Some fans are operated with a remote control, and turn on by a switch. If a fan doesn’t have a pull-chain, this may be the case.

Switches near doors that lead outside may be for floodlights, post lights, or other lighting on your porch, patio, or yard. These are often forgotten about, so remember to change the bulbs. Otherwise, you may flick a switch and it may appear it doesn’t serve anything, but it actually serves than light in the corner of the house with the dead bulb.

If you just can’t figure a switch out and you really want to know what it is for, you can remove the face plate and see if it is connected to any wires. You’d have to turn off the circuit breaker and test with a non-contact tester. This can get tricky and would best be done by 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!

Electrical Safety

Posted on: October 9th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Fire prevention awareness month is here, and some of the most common causes of fires besides cooking and unsafe heating are electrical issues. What do you need to know to stay safe?

Outlets. Do not force a plug into an outlet or remove the third prong to make a three-prong plug fit a two-conductor outlet. Make sure plugs aren’t too loose fitting. Don’t overload outlets with too many appliance plugs. Replace any missing or broken wall plates.

Cords. Do not put cords under rugs or carpets or in places where people will walk on them. Do not staple or nail them to floors or anything else. There are plenty of safe ways to hide your cords. Make sure cords are not frayed or cracked. Extension cords are meant only for temporary use.

Light bulbs. Make sure you use the correct wattage for your fixtures. Do not use a higher wattage than recommended. Screw them in securely to make sure they are not loose.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs). Make sure GFCIs are installed in your kitchen, bathrooms, laundry, basement, garage and on outdoor outlets. Test them about once a month.

Circuit breakers/Fuses. Have an electrician identify and label your circuit breaker, or do it yourself. Fuses should be properly rated for each circuit they are protecting.

Appliances/Electronics. It is a good idea to use surge protectors to protect expensive electronics. Check for damage in wiring. If an appliance blows a fuse more than once, trips the circuit breaker or gives you a shock, unplug it and get it repaired.

Electrical wiring. Check for loose wires, wall receptacles or lighting fixtures. If light switches are hot or lights spark and flicker, shut off and replace them.

Remember that the more appliances and electronics you get, the more your home’s service capacity may end up overburdened.

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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!

 

 

Install Fire and CO2 Alarms

Posted on: October 9th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

October is fire prevention awareness month, and winter is prime time for fires due to people using unsafe techniques to warm up. How do you install smoke and CO2 alarms? Where do you place them? How many do you need?

Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. In addition, a smoke alarm should be installed on each level of your home.

Smoke alarms should be high on the wall (but not less than 12 inches away from the ceiling) because smoke rises. For ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within 4 inches down from the peak, called the apex. Make sure your alarms are not near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with them. They should also be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance unless you enjoy hearing false alarms often!

The best way to protect your home is with interconnected alarms. To do so, you’ll probably need to hire a professional if using hard wiring. There are also wireless technology options. With interconnected smoke alarms, make sure they are from the same manufacturer.

Buy smoke alarms that show a label of a recognized testing laboratory and are combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor alarms. These respond to both flaming fires and smoldering fires

Carbon monoxide mixes with the air, so these alarms should be at knee level (to meet the height of a sleeping person). You can move them up to chest height if needed in a home with young children. A single-function carbon monoxide alarm is typically recommended. If you have a dual smoke-CO detector, put it higher up so it can detect smoke. Make sure to put at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level. Extra detectors near sleeping areas are also a good idea. Any place where you have a fuel-fired appliance such as a gas fireplace or gas clothes dryer, make sure you have a CO2 alarm.

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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!

 

 

 

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!