Archive for the ‘home maintenance’ Category

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!

 

 

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!

 

 

Clean the Fireplace

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

 

Sitting by the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate in your hands… what a delightful vision. To make the vision come true, you should get your fireplace ready first so that it works well and you stay safe.

Start off by removing the ashes from the fireplace with a fireplace shovel if you didn’t at the end of last season. Put them into a bucket. Throughout the winter, make sure that the ashes don’t build up to a depth greater than about 2 inches.

Use a shop vacuum with a filter bag to remove any ashes or other dry debris that are left.

If you want to remove the soot and fire stains from the firebox, spray on soapy water and let it sit for about 30 minutes. When the reside looks like it has softened, scrub the surface with a stiff wire brush.

Use a metal brush to remove rust and debris from the damper. Wear eye protection and gloves. Also, check that the damper mechanism works properly so that the damper can open and close.

Check that your chimney cap is in good shape and that is not clogged with leaves or debris.

If you have animals that get down into the chimney, a wire screen will keep them out.

Check the mortar between the bricks to make sure that it is not cracked or flaking away. Check the flashing where the roof meets the chimney and make sure that there is a watertight seal around the flashing. Patch it up with caulk if needed.

If you’re tired of dealing with all of this, consider a gas fireplace.

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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!

Garbage Disposal Dos and Don’t’s

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

 

Fall is here and that means staying indoors and cooking up a storm during the colder days and holidays. That can also mean a lot of work for your garbage disposal. How should you maintain yours? When do you replace it?

Don’t put these foods down your garbage disposal: egg shells, onion skins, celery, corn husks, as well as hard foods such as seeds, popcorn, peach stones or bones. Don’t put any non-food item down the disposal. This is also bad if you have a septic system.

Keep it clean! Regularly pour a natural cleaner such as baking soda and vinegar down the inside to clean up the sludge. It is best to avoid harsh chemicals and cleaners.

Do not put fats and grease down your disposal, as they will clog it up. . Let fats gets solid and put grease in the fridge to make it solid. Then throw away. Even still, while running the disposal, use cold water. Hot water liquefies and leftover greases and fats.

Turn on the cold water every time you run your disposal while the food is being chopped up. You should also keep letting the water run for at least another 10 seconds after you turn the disposal off. The water will bring any remaining particles out of the disposal and will assist in flushing the pipes.

If your disposal is clogged do not use your hands to reach inside! Use pliers or call a professional if needed. You will most likely have to get your garbage disposal replaced every 8 to 15 years depending on your model and how often you use it.

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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 Air Ducts

Posted on: October 20th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

About once a year it is a good idea to clean out your home’s air ducts. (Let’s be honest, most of us have never—or very rarely—done this.) It can help to only keep your home cleaner but also help those who have allergies and asthma and households with pets. It also helps your system last longer, thus saving you money. How do you do it?

Lift up or unscrew the registers and wash them with soap and hot water and let them air dry.

Next, use a dryer vent brush attached to a cordless drill to clean inside the ducts. Then, use your vacuum cleaner hose with the dust brush attachment to get down further down into the duct and vacuum up anything that has been dislodged.

You can also use a damp microfiber cloth to get down into the duct and wipe the interior. You can also use an all-purpose cleaner with the cloth. Make sure to rinse it out often during the process.

Lastly, wipe off the floor and wall around the duct.

You can also consider installing vent register filters. These are helpful if you have furry animals that shed a lot and children who may drop things into the floor registers!

You’ll get to most of the dirt and dust with the steps above. However, if you want to go even further, remove end caps from rectangular duct work, slide the drives off the duct and pull the cap out. You can again use your vacuum hose here. You can also remove the basement registers to get more access to the main trunk line.

This is a good time to remember to change your HVAC’s air filter and get your system inspected.

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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!

 

 

Mulching Your Leaves

Posted on: October 20th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

Once you’ve finished cleaning your gutters, next up is getting the leaves off of the lawn. Mulching is much easier than raking, and the organic matter breaks down and releases nutrients. It also keeps the leaves out of landfills. Mulch can also reduce development of some weeds, like dandelions. So if you want to try it this fall, how do you get started?

You can mulch with a regular lawn mower by taking off the grass catcher off your mower and setting the blade to its highest setting. It may take a few passes to get the job done. However, it is better to use a mulching mower or mulching blades. This is because they break down the leaves into smaller pieces with decompose faster, instead of sitting around on your lawn possibly blocking the sunlight and water and even getting sticky and moldy after rain.

A good rule of thumb is to not mulch constantly, but rather do it in between raking or leaf-blowing sessions. If the leaves are clumpy and not spread pretty evenly, or if there are simply too many leaves, it can kill the grass. If you do decide to do it more often, make sure to do it once a week or so—before the leaves become too much to handle. You cannot wait until the leaves are piling up five inches high—get to them sooner. You’ll also want to mulch when it has been dry.

If you’re using a regular mower and afterwards you cannot see any grass at all, reattach the bag to the mower and go through one more time. Add the mulched leaves from this round to gardens beds or a compost pile.

Microbes and worms recycle the carbon from the leaf bits, and microbes can do their job better with nitrogen. You can get lawn food to help break down the leaves even faster.

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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!

Bathroom Ventilation Fans

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

 

Long showers feel fantastic—but they aren’t so great for your home. The humidity can breed mold and mildew, which is not only a health hazard, but also bad for your building materials. Ventilation fans can help remove moisture, mold spores and odor from your bathrooms. Nowadays they are “smart” and efficient. What should you look for?

Think about where the air will go. Bathroom ventilation fans often exhaust air in between ceiling joists or into an attic, which brings the moisture into closed spaces where mold can breed. Instead, connect your bathroom exhaust fan to vent ducts that exhaust the air outside your house. If you’re concerned the fan will take the heated air out of your house, install a heat-exchange ventilator fan. Keep in mind that these are more expensive.

Measure your bathroom’s floor space. The air flow capacities of bathroom ventilation fans are measured in cubic feet per minute (cfm). The Home Ventilating Institute says that your fan should have 1 cfm for every square foot of floor space.

Are you bothered by loud noise? Have a sleeping child or spouse? Fan noise is rated by sones. A rating of 0.5 to 1.2 sones means the fan is very quiet, 1.5 to 2.0 sones is a good middle range, and above 4.0 sones means noisy.

Of course these days there are “smart” options. Motion sensor activation turns on the fan when someone enters the room. Fan speed can be pre-set to remove the moisture of smaller tasks like shaving. Some offer a night light to help you in the dark. Humidity sensing fans automatically switch on when they detect high levels of humidity. Some even have built-in heaters.

Another modern luxury—energy efficient ventilation fans, which use about 60 percent less energy than standard fans.

Be prepared to spend between $90 and $400 for a new ventilation fan, and more if you get a professional installation.

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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!