Archive for the ‘home improvement’ Category

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!

 

 

 

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!

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!

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!

 

Creative Storage Solutions

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

 

Whether you don’t have much space in your home or you just want to find some alternative ways to make more room around your house, take a look at some creative storage solutions.

Think beyond the horizontal. Make better use of your space by hanging up slim, long wire baskets to keep clutter at bay or put up a narrow shelf in a small nook to store books or photos. You can also put up hooks for robes, accessories, or jewelry storage.

Get rid of desk lamps and standing lamps and instead install more overhead lighting. This will clear up some space and even make it look tidier without all of the wires for the lamps.

Use furniture tricks to hide items. One example is to use a pretty table skirt to cover baskets and other things. All of those pesky wires behind your nightstand or TV stand can be gathered up and put into a decorative box with a hole cut out in the back.

Look at where you already have some shelves up and see if you can squeeze in another shelf underneath or above those for a little extra storage space.

Store items under your beds if you have the space. To make your items easier to get to, use rolling bins instead of the usual plastic containers.

Lastly, minimalize! Get rid of extra stuff. The less you have, the less you have to store. Most of the time we have more towels, dishes, and clothing than we really need.

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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 Your Closet Without Wires

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

 

How do you properly get dressed in the morning if you get up before the sun or you’re trying to keep the lights dim to let your spouse sleep in? Are you digging around in your closet while holding up your phone’s flashlight? It’s time to put in some quality closet lighting!

An insta bulb is battery-operated and totally wireless. You simply peel and stick it to the wall and pull a cord to turn it on.

A battery-operated motion-sensing LED ceiling light will automatically turn on, then off after a
bout 30 seconds. These can be easily installed within minutes and the only thing you’ll have to remember is to replace the batteries once in a while.

A tap light is another great option. This is turned on or off with a tape. It can be easily attached with screws or mounting tape. Some can be detached so they can be used as a portable emergency light.

LED strip lights can activate within a few feet and provide a linear look. These are great for very dark closets.

A puck light with a remote control will let you direct lighting to where you need it and you can use the remote from 15 feet away!

You can use a combination of the options mentioned for optimal lighting. Take a look at the other closets in your home after you work on the first closet. Don’t forget about your drawers and other nooks and crannies. Most of this lighting can be installed in those areas too.

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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!

Maximize Kitchen Space 

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

 

The kitchen is the heart of the home, but let’s be honest: it is often a cluttered mess. How can you maximize your space and what can you upgrade to make a big impact?

Counter space is crucial. If you can add more counter space, go for it! If you’re looking to get all new counters or are looking for a new home, look for  deeper counters. Also look for materials that will help with baking and cooking, such as marble and granite. These materials can be pricey,  but they offer cool surfaces for handling things like dough.

Cabinet space is also an important part of a functional kitchen. You’ll want plenty of cabinets, but also make sure they’re placed well. The fewer steps you need to take while cooking, the better. Look for deep cabinets near the dishwasher, large cabinets with slide-out drawers near the oven, and waist-high sliding shelves to store small appliances like mixers and toasters. You’ll get a cleaner look with built-in food and bread storage cabinets also.

A roll-out pantry is a great alternative if you don’t have enough room in your kitchen for a closet pantry. This will fit into an area about 18 inches wide by 5-1/2 feet tall. Another storage option is a closet outside of the kitchen used for items you don’t use much, such as fine china or large pots.

Good lighting can help your kitchen appear larger and inviting. Take a day to install under-counter lighting and halogen lights.

A few last tips: go through your kitchen items and see what you can give away. Often we have way too much stuff that we rarely use. Do you really need that cotton candy maker? Also, don’t forget about small touches that can make a big impact such as  a tile backsplash on the walls above the counters, stove and sink or new  cabinet pulls and drawer knobs.

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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!

 

 

 

Insulate with Spray Foam

Posted on: August 5th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Fiberglass is a popular choice for attics and other spaces, but what if you’re thinking about spray foam insulation? It does cost more up front and may require some professional help, but it can perform as much as 50% better than fiberglass. Spray foam is also a moisture barrier and helps to dampen sound. How do you get started?

  1. If you decide to DIY, purchase a spray foam kit and wipe down the area you’ll spray. Make sure there is no water or debris.
  2. Cover electric boxes and connections.
  3. Check the temperature of the surface and the room, because adhesion and expansion of the foam are reduced by low temperatures.
  4. Put on eye protection, respiration gear, and protective clothing.
  5. Test your nozzle so the foam flows properly. After drying, rip a piece out and see that the inside is properly set and dry.
  6. Spraying close to your surface will cover a smaller area with more foam. Spraying further away from the surface will cover more of an area with less foam. Try to make as few passes as possible, because spraying onto wet foam can get messy and create an inconsistent surface. If you do end up needing to spray more than one layer, wait until your first layer of foam has cured.
  7. You can scrape away any cured foam that has covered the front of the wall studs.
  8. The kit can be used again—remove the used nozzle, remove the trigger safety, open both valves and make sure the face of the gun is clean. Stop using it when the foam starts to sputter and does not spray correctly.

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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!

Front Porch Improvements For This Summer

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

 

Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electrical Front Porch ImprovementsIf you’re looking for an easy curb-appeal project this summer that doesn’t involve staying out in the hot sun, how about working on your front porch? This is one of the first areas potential buyers and guests notice, and changes don’t need to be expensive.

A fresh coat of paint on your door can really make it pop. Don’t be timid– try out yellow, red or turquoise! Make sure to check the weather before you get started. You don’t want a major storm blowing through while your paint is drying.

Next, add some flowers. Choose a type that matches the color and style of your house, as well as the size of your porch. When it comes to picking flowers, the options are endless. You can install a flower box underneath your windows, hang baskets of flowers on the sides of the porch, or hang pots from hooks on the ceiling. You can also decorate the porch steps by putting flower pots on each ascending step.

You can also ways to draw attention to your newly painted door by putting tall plants on each side of it or hanging up a summery wreath. You can make your own or buy one that displays flowers, fruits, or leaves to match the rest of your porch.

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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!