Archive for the ‘home maintenance’ Category

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!

Preventing Wood Rot

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

 

Houses are made with a lot of wood—framing members, plywood, trim, etc. You can shell out plenty of money to fix wood rot if it is left untreated and it
can even bring on the termites—so how can you prevent it?

At least once a year inspect your home:

Look for cracks or holes in the caulking around windows, doors and dryer vents. Re-caulk any openings with acrylic latex exterior caulk.

Check under eaves, around fireplaces, and on interior ceilings for any possible leaks.

Look for sagging or leaking gutters and downspouts.

Trim back any shrubbery or tree branches closer than 2 to 3 feet from the sides and roof of your home.

Check for peeling and cracked painted surfaces and prime and paint if needed.

This fall, make sure your crawl space vents don’t get blocked with leaves and other debris.

Lastly, check for dirt and debris between decking boards. Clean them out and spray with a hose if needed.

If you think you have some wood rot, press on the wood surface and see if it feels soft or crumbly. Remember this can happen on the layers underneath—even if the surface isn’t so obvious. Some common spots include: where siding meets trim, where two pieces of trim meet, horizontal surfaces, deck support posts and fascia behind leaking gutters.

In the future, use decay-resistant or pressure-treated lumber for decks. Stain or paint all sides of each lumber piece before assembly. Do not lean anything against your siding. Make sure to clean your gutters this 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!

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!

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!

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!