Salt Water Pool Chlorinator Energy Usage

Posted on: August 14th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

We still have plenty of warm weather left to enjoy. If you’re a salt water pool owner, or are considering getting one, you may have noticed how much energy—and therefore money—your salt water chlorinator uses. How can you reduce the cost of running it while still making sure its safe and clean?

Salt water pool owners are often told to run the pool pump 4 – 6 hours in the winter if you don’t winterize your pool and up to 10 – 12 hours in the summer. This is not always true. It depends on your usage. Don’t assume that is the rule.

Generally electricity costs less during the evening hours, so consider running your pump then.

Often salt water chlorinators can be adjusted for optimal use and chlorine production. You can dial in the percentage of the time the pool needs for optimal chlorination. For people that use their pool often, adjust it to about 45-50%. With a higher percentage the chlorine will go up and too much salt will be used. Too low and the chlorine level will slowly come down.

If you keep your salt water chlorinator at 45% but only use it once a week, chlorine levels will skyrocket because there is not enough demand to use up the chlorine. Each pool use is different. Start low, at about 5%, and make the adjustment in the evening. Then you can test your chlorine in the morning and take note of the pool chlorine level. Ultimately through trial and error you’ll find the correct amount of time your filtration system is running and the amount of time your salt water chlorinator is producing chlorine.

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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!

 

 

 

How You’re Killing Your AC

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

 

Air conditioning units should last for 15 years or more if properly maintained. Most of us, though, aren’t taking the steps we should to take care of this important and expensive part of our home.

Change the filter at least once every few months—more if you have allergies or asthma or have pets. A dirty filter restricts the airflow, reduces the cooling capacity and makes the compressor worker harder and run hotter, Basically, it shortens the life of the unit. This is an easy thing to remember to do!

Twice a year, a professional should come to clean and inspect your system. This should include washing your outdoor unit, a leak check, replacing the filter, checking the drain line, and checking that all the components are using the proper amount of electricity. The duct system and the safeties should also be inspected.

Don’t change the temperature all the time. This may be tempting to do each day depending on whether or not you’re home, or perhaps because you’re trying to get a fast cool down. This is not good for your system, has to work harder to drop the temperature during the lows. That is a lot of wear and tear. You may want to consider other ways to get cooler faster, such as fans, keeping the blinds and curtains closed, and limiting the use of appliances that generate heat such as the oven.

Get an energy audit. Units work much harder than they should because of air leakage. This means more money out the window. Make sure that after this is done you seal up everything properly to make sure the air is no longer escaping.

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!

 

Efficient Cell Phone & Tablet Usage

Posted on: July 29th, 2017 by Derek Barmer No Comments

 

You can save energy—and save yourself from some headaches—if you can extend the battery life on your cell phones and tablets. These simple steps can make a big difference.

First off, check your battery use in your settings to see what your phone or tablet is doing. On most phones you can see a breakdown of what is consuming your battery. Usually, you can see the percentages.

Turn off any services you don’t use all the time, such as Wi-Fi, or GPS. Are these items running in the background even if you’re not using them? There are even apps to help you manage what programs run automatically.

Turn down the brightness. Most of use can see the screen without the high brightness. You can even put your device on night time mode set to certain hours of the day, which not only helps save battery but also—if it’s a warmer tone—this can help you sleep better because of what your eyes are looking at! Let’s be real—you’re still going to check your phone. So, at least put it in this mode to help your brain turn off.

Activate the lock screen after a minute or two of inactivity.

This is an easy one: remove your device from the charger and unplug the charger when the device is fully charged. If you don’t want the hassle, try a power strip so you can unplug all the items at once. This is great for those who have several items to charge. “Phantom Loads” waste more energy than you’d think and ultimately, more money!

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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!

Cool Your Pets Off Without AC

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

 

Maybe you don’t have central air conditioning or your AC is temporarily out, or maybe you keep your pets outdoors. What are some ways to keep your fur babies cool without central air? After all, that fur makes them feel pretty toasty!

For outside pets, make sure they have access to plenty of shade. Keep in mind that the sun moves throughout the day, so look for areas that have the most shade during all hours of the day. Give them plenty of fresh water and place water containers where your pet can’t tip them over.

Spill proof bowls are a good idea. Some bowls are even made to connect directly to a garden hose, and a pressure valve controls the amount of water in the bowl, refilling when it is low! Lastly, a “kiddie pool” kept in the shade and filled with just enough water to wet your pet’s belly is a fun idea to cool him or her off.

Indoors, use fans. Pedestal fans are great because they’re up away from the pets, and they can oscillate to distribute air around an entire room. However some pets do enjoy sitting in front of a heavy-duty floor fan that won’t tip over!

Window fans can be set so they are blowing out in order to help circulate air throughout a house. Close all of the windows except for one. Lastly, keep curtains and window shades closed during the middle of the day to keep the sun out.

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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 a Failing Water Heater

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

 

It is a crucial part of your home and often completely forgotten about until a major issue comes up—the water heater. The main cause of water heater failure is age. The seam on the back of most water heaters rusts and deterioration happened generally between about 9 and 11 years.

What does this lead to? Typically, flooding. However it isn’t always a sudden burst—sometimes it is a slow leak that might be easy to miss if you’re out of town, not home much, or simply don’t go in the area where you water heater is very often (such as a basement.) It is a good rule of thumb to get a new water heater every 9 years or so.

While repairs and installations are best left to a professional, there are some steps you can take to help out this important piece in your house:

Get your water heater’s shut-off valve and all piping inspected once a year. Signs of broken valves as well as wet or loose joints and rust will be some signs that more severe damage is likely to come.

Getting your water heater flushed to remove the sediment once a year will help as well. Water heaters can be flushed by attaching a garden hose to the valve at the base of the water heater. Turn off the power and run hot water until it cools before flushing the tank since the heated water may be 140 degrees or more!

If you live in an area with hard water, installing a water softener can also extend the life of your water heater.

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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!

 

Go Green to Save Green 

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

 


Even if you don’t care much about the environment, going “green” can save you quite a bit of money! Here are a few ways you can save by making changes around your home.

Low-flow showerheads save on energy usage AND water. They can reduce your water usage by up to 60 percent.

Use a power strip with a switch to eliminate extra spending on powering up idle equipment. These little items add up and the cost is on average $100 each year!

Install a programmable thermostat. This will let you adjust the temperature automatically while you are sleeping or out of the house.

Insulating your walls, ceiling and floors will save you about 10 percent on your energy bills each year. Even if you already have insulation, look to see if you should add more in the attic or other areas you might forget about.

Install new energy-efficient windows. If you’re losing air out of the old leaky windows, you’re losing cash. In the winter the heat will escape and in the summer the cool air will escape. Changing the windows can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Fix leaky faucets. This may not seem like a big deal, but if you have a faucet that has one drip per second, that equals about 1600 gallons of wasted water, which is 35 dollars a year.

If you’re in the market for a new refrigerator, washing machine or other appliance, look for Energy Star models.

To go green, you usually have to spend some money up front and put in some work. In the end though, you’ll pay off by saving thousands of dollars! Think about 5 or 10 years from now!

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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!

Outdoor Kitchens

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

 

A great way to enjoy the outdoors is to step up your outdoor cooking game. What are some things to know before you undertake this big project?

An outdoor kitchen area can cost several thousand dollars, depending on what you want. A basic setup will typically include at least an island with counter and gas grill.

Some of the first things to think about are the weather and the weight of the appliances. For example, tile or marble flooring can get very slippery with rainwater or drink spills. You also want to make sure your flooring can hold up all of the weight.

Location is also crucial. Make sure smoke will not blow into your home from the grill. Look for an area that is easy to access, goes with the traffic flow in your yard, and isn’t near anything flammable. Also consider any future plans. Will you add a pool or a garden later on? These are all important things to consider.

Another consideration is how much room you’ll want. At the very least, you’ll need space on the sides of the grill for plates, etc. Will you want a sitting area or is there a separate table? Will more than one family member want to prepare food/cook at the same time?

Storage is also important. You’ll want enough space for all of the items you’ll regularly use. Keep in mind whether or not you’ll use the kitchen in the colder months or only in the summer. Waterproof, easy-to-clean materials such as concrete are best.

Appliances will also need to be made of weatherproof material such as stainless steel. When thinking about appliances, you’ll also need to consider water supply and electrical connections. An outdoor sink will need to be hooked up to a yard hose or the house’s water supply. It is best to have a plumber take on this work. An electrician should also make sure everything in your outdoor kitchen is up to code. A professional would also need to be called if you want a plumbed gas line for the grill.

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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!