Home Energy Efficiency Checklist

As the new year rolls in, most of us are thinking about changes and improvements we can make in 2021. Perhaps home energy efficiency isn’t as interesting as learning a new language or training for a marathon, but it can surely help you save money!

Here are some of our favorite home energy efficiency tips from energy.gov. We suggest resolving to save money in 2021 with these quick and simple ideas.

Install a programmable thermostat

Programmable thermostats are readily available at home improvement stores and easy to install on your own. You can program your home’s temperature around your schedule, so it will run less when you are away. Experts say a programmable thermostat can save as much as ten percent on your annual heating and cooling costs!

Replace your light bulbsImage of woman replacing incandescent bulb with a LED bulb

Swapping out old bulbs for Energy Star bulbs can add up to big savings. If you want to really invest in your home’s energy efficiency, consider Energy Star LED bulbs. These bulbs last 25 times longer and use 75% less electricity than incandescent bulbs. Energy.gov reports that use of LED lighting has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in our nation.

Put electric equipment on a power strip

You can save as much as $100 annually just by turning off so-called “energy vampires” in your home. These are devices that continue to use energy behind-the-scenes even when you aren’t actively using them. A simple way to do this is to install devices like this together on the same power strip. Then, you can just turn it off when not in use.

Unplug your chargers

We know, it’s so convenient to keep your phone charger plugged in all the time. But chargers consume energy even when your phone isn’t attached. For savings, unplug your charger when it isn’t in use.

Put your HVAC system on a maintenance plan

Regular preventive maintenance of your HVAC system will save you in the long run. A well-maintained system runs more efficiently and lasts longer. In addition, it’s best to have a professional spot potential problem before they become emergencies.

For information about preventive maintenance plans, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010. You can also use our online form.

HVAC Upgrades for Comfort & Equity

HVAC upgrades will always be a safe bet and a smart investment — and yet, these home improvements are some of the most commonly overlooked by homeowners and flippers. A prospective buyer probably won’t automatically walk away from a home without all the newest gadgets, but they won’t even look twice at a home that lacks basic heating and cooling abilities.

Therefore, you should take HVAC renovations quite seriously and make them a priority over new flooring, paint, and other aesthetic or luxury upgrades.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that HVAC remodels have a higher average return on investment than most other types of remodeling projects, yielding a return of up to 71%.

You’ll want to take into account the region, the age and size of your home, your budget, and the layout of your property. With these factors in mind, you can get an idea of your HVAC system upgrade options.

Is your current HVAC system in good working condition?

During the home-selling process, you can bet that people will ask you the age of your HVAC system. Was your system installed less than 10 years ago? If so,then it very likely has several good years of use left in it. Anything newer isn’t likely to make a difference in home value or offers from potential buyers. Anything older than 15 years old; however, will be a turnoff to buyers.

Can you get away with an HVAC repair instead of a replacement?

If your HVAC unit is less than 10 years old but functions like it needs to be upgraded, you might be able to get away with some simple repairs rather than a complete system overhaul.

It’s hard to go wrong with most basic HVAC upgrades. This is especially true if the home you’re renovating is more than 20 years old. Even though you may only recover 50% or less of certain HVAC investments, an upgrade could capture the interest of buyers and make it worth the purchase.

Furnace/Boiler

Replacing an old furnace or boiler is an easy upgrade that doesn’t require much labor. Most furnaces can last up to 15 years with proper maintenance, but most older heating appliances require frequent, pricey repairs and cost a lot to run. By switching to a new heating appliance, you conserve energy and improve the efficiency of your home’s heating system. This is attractive to potential buyers.

Insulation

Fiberglass insulation only costs around $1,200 on average and yields a $1,400 return upon resale within a year of completion. Poor insulation is an easy fix and a low-risk investment that yields a 95% to 116% return. Properly insulated walls improve a home’s ability to regulate internal temperatures and reduce the demand on its HVAC system.

Air DuctsImage shows new ductwork installed to add equity to a home

If you are replacing an old HVAC system with a more efficient one, you might need to upgrade your ductwork to accommodate it. Ductwork is made to last 25 years at the most, but it starts to degrade in about 15 years. Deterioration will reduce the efficiency of an HVAC system significantly. It’s a good idea to replace the ductwork if you plan to sell your home in the near future.

Windows

Approximately 35% of a home’s heat escapes through low-quality windows. Even if the walls of your home are highly insulated, it won’t do much good if the windows aren’t equally energy-efficient.

Doors and Weather Stripping

Another way to significantly improve your HVAC efficiency with minimal labor is to upgrade to energy-efficient doors and repair or replace any old weather stripping. Some of the most energy-efficient materials available for residential doors include fiberglass, steel, and vinyl. Try to avoid wood and glass if your goal is to prevent airflow.

After replacing your door, you should see a return of 75% to 91% of your investment upon resale, depending on the type of door you’ve chosen. When swapping out your door, don’t forget about the weather stripping. New weather stripping will ensure a tight seal around your doors and windows and prevent air leaks. This is one of the cheapest upgrades you can make to your home, ranging from $130 to $340.

Central Air

People want to be comfortable in every room of their home all year long. Most homebuyers today consider central heating and air conditioning a standard feature rather than an upgrade. So,without it, you may struggle to sell your home. A central air installation can cost anywhere from $6,000 to 15,000, but it could increase your home value by up to 10%.

Roof

While the roof serves to protect everything under it, it’s also an important insulator. Inefficient roofing materials account for 25% of heat loss. Just by upgrading to modern, high-tech shingles, you can relieve a lot of the strain on your HVAC system and improve your indoor comfort. Asphalt shingles can lower a roof’s surface temperature by up to 50 degrees and increase home value by $12,000. Investing in a new roof might seem like a big expense, but it has been shown that you can recover 105% of the cost at resale.

You can count on the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical to help you maximize your HVAC upgrades. Call us at 800.461.3010 or submit our scheduling form, to get started.

 

Summer Energy Efficiency Tips

As the temperatures climb higher and higher, so do our electric bills! If you’re worried about how you can stay comfortable and save energy, check out our summer energy efficiency tips.

The Department of Energy offers some great advice for saving energy in the spring and summer months. We’ve compiled several of our favorites tip to help you – and your wallet – survive summer!

Use Window Coverings

Blinds, curtains, and shades offer more than just decorative appeal and privacy – they can provide insulation and prevent your windows from letting in the sun’s heat. Cellular shades typically have the highest R-value (measure of insulation) of any window coverings and can reduce unwanted heat from the sun through windows by up to 80%! Curtains can be a good choice too, but their insulating power varies widely depending on the fabric type and color.Image of window covering

Blinds are another popular choice. Unlike shades and curtains, blinds allow much more control over the amount of sunlight you let in. Horizontal blinds can even be adjusted to reflect rays onto a light-colored ceiling, which lets you enjoy the light without all the heat. If you don’t want to sacrifice your view, then window films (especially those with UV blockers) are a good option. They may require a little extra care when cleaning, but the benefits may be worth it.

 Keep Hot Air Out

Doors, windows, recessed windows, and fireplace walls are common hot spots (literally) where hot air can enter and your cool air can escape. Weatherstripping and caulk can seal these areas and improve the efficiency of your home, but first you’ll need to identify the trouble spots.

If your windows are in poor condition, you’re likely losing a lot of energy through them. Caulk, weatherstripping, window coverings, and storm panels can all help make your windows more efficient. If you’re in the market for new windows, be sure and look at the ENERGY STAR and NFRC ratings before buying.

Adjust Your Thermostat

If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, check into upgrading! This type of thermostat lets you automatically set your home’s HVAC system to a warmer temperature when you’re away and cooler when you are home. The closer you can keep the indoor temperature to the outdoor temperature, the lower your electric bill will be. That can be pretty tough when it’s over ninety degrees outside, so try and find a temperature that reduces humidity and provides comfort.

Remember that your thermostat senses the temperature of the room right around it. Avoid putting lamps or electronics next to your thermostat, as they put off heat. The additional heat may confuse your thermostat’s sensors and make your air conditioner run unnecessarily.

These summer energy efficiency tips are a great start. If you need professional help with your home’s energy efficiency, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Installing Solar Panels – Pros and Cons

If you are looking for ways to be environmentally conscious, installing solar panels in your home might be a good start. While upfront costs may be high, using solar energy can be a way to save on energy expenses in the long run. Using solar power will lower your electricity bills, earn tax incentives and add value to your home because the panels are exempt from property taxes.

Consider these advantages of using solar energy when deciding if installing solar panels makes sense for you.

Energy independenceinfographic about how solar panels work

The sun is an infinite source of energy, unlike coal and natural gas, and solar panels can be installed practically anywhere. Using solar panels allows you to reduce dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels, leading to a more stable and predictable energy bill, especially during times when the demand for energy is high.

Reduced electricity bills

Over a 20-year period, you can save from $10,000 to $30,000, depending on where you live, electricity usage and the size of your home. Unlike paying traditional utility bills, paying off a solar panel system makes you money on the investment. You can also sell solar energy back to the grid, allowing you to earn while you save.

Federal and state tax benefits

The government will offer you benefits when you install solar panels in your home, potentially allowing you to claim 30 percent of the installation costs, with benefits that vary state to state.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Since solar energy generates power without giving off any dangerous emissions, the energy produced from solar panels is clean. It doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. For examples the average American home produces 14,920 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. A family who installs solar panels can reduce its carbon footprint by more than 3,000 pounds.

Longevity with little maintenance

With most systems lasting for more than years, solar panels and equipment require little maintenance. Additionally solar energy is always improving, so a panel you installed last year is even better today.

 

While there are many benefits to using solar power, there are also disadvantages to consider. Some disadvantages include:

Expensive initial costs

You will experience reduced electric bills when using solar panels, but there are initial costs for the equipment and installation. This could add up to more than $20,000. Also, any devices that you run on DC currents will be more expensive to power directly.

Inability to take it if you move

Once panels are installed it is nearly impossible to transport to another location. Even transferring PV solar panels is never advised. It would have to be  dismantled from your roof and retrofitted to your new property, most likely causing extensive damage.

Limitations based on your surroundings

The solar energy industry continues to grow, but most companies serve a particular geographic region or state. If you live in an area outside of a solar energy company’s coverage area, you’re out of luck. Additionally, if you live in a rural area and far away from your solar provider, you could have trouble reaching customer services when you need assistance.

Weather dependence

To power your solar panels you need the sun. If you live in a cloudy area or have days of storms, this will negatively impact how the system runs. If your region has a dark winter season, your system will likely be less productive at that time.

Inconvenience in areas with limited space

You will need a decent size space to install a solar system and have it run smoothly.  Solar panels might be inconvenient in inner cities and other areas with limited space. If your roof is small (less than about 100 square feet of roof for every 1 kW of panels) you might not have the space for all the solar panels that you need to power your house.

Advantages and disadvantages of installing solar panels seem to have a tradeoff. Solar panel technology isn’t perfect, but it is constantly improving. You’ll get a return on your investment, but it takes a while. Energy produced from solar panels is plentiful, clean and renewable, but the infrastructure that manufactures and delivers them leaves its own carbon footprint.

When you understand how solar panels work and what are the best panels for your home, you will need to talk to a solar energy company. Talk to them about what makes the most sense for your home and region.

If you’re looking for professional guidance about energy savings, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

HVAC Myths Dispelled

When it comes to HVAC systems how do you know what’s a myth and what’s true about maintenance and services? Let’s take a look at a few of the most common HVAC myths and dispel them so you know how to make the best decisions to keep your systems working efficiently.

HVAC Myths Dispelled

MYTH: Your filter only needs changing only once a year.

TRUTH: This is a myth and a big mistake! Change your filter every 30 days and if you have a lot of pets that produce a lot of dander and fur around the house, change out more often. This will keep your system much more efficient.

 

MYTH: Having the biggest system is always the best.

TRUTH: Actually, bigger is not always better when it comes to an HVAC system. In fact, if you have a system that is too large for your home, it can be much less efficient and less effective in removing humidity. It’s best to have a professional decide on the right size HVAC unit for your home.

 

MYTH: You don’t need to maintain your HVAC system unless it’s broken.

TRUTH: Regular maintenance on your HVAC system is crucial. This will prevent large and expensive problems and ensure that your system is working properly. Maintenance with an HVAC specialist will save you costly and major repairs down the road.

 

MYTH: It’s easy to find air leaks in your home.

TRUTH: It sounds simple to find an air leak around your home, but even some of the biggest leaks can be difficult to detect. It’s best to ask an HVAC service technician to find and properly seal leaks that are wasting energy and making your system inefficient. During your regular check, ask your technician to also check for leaks. This will ensure your system is running properly and efficiently.

 

MYTH: The best way to change the heat or cooling your home is to turn up the thermostat.

TRUTH: While your thermostat setting controls the temperature, your home may never reach that temperature, especially if your HVAC is not working optimally. If your HVAC system needs maintenance, if your home needs new insulation or there are serious leaks, the system will have a difficult time heating and cooling properly.

Hiring a professional

When you hire an HVAC company to help service your system, ask them to:

  • Evaluate if the size of your system is right for your home.
  • Replace a new HVAC system in your home if it’s determined that you need one.
  • Perform regular maintenance to prevent bigger problems and keep your system running efficiently.
  • Test for leaks that may be making your system inefficient.
  • Troubleshoot any other potential problems with your HVAC system.

It’s always best to ask your HVAC professional if you have a question about what’s true or a myth in maintaining and maximizing your home system. For expert assistance, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

 

Furnace Maintenance Tips to Keep Your System Running Strong

You want your furnace in top running condition during the winter. If you perform proper maintenance, you can avoid most mishaps with your system. The right knowledge and a little bit of effort can keep your furnace running efficiently and avoid future breakdowns. Here are eight furnace maintenance tips that will help keep your heating system running great all season long!

Think safety first

If you perform any maintenance beyond basic filter changes, be sure you put safety first. Before getting started, turn off the power to your furnace to avoid injury. You may want to hire a professional to help with any inspection, cleaning, tune-ups, or repairs that are more complicated or if you are uncomfortable performing these furnace maintenance tips.

1.  Understand your system and recommended maintenance

Although most furnaces in the United States are natural gas or electric, some such as propane, geothermal, and heat pump are now available. Understanding what kind of system you have that provides your home with its heat and learning how it needs to be maintained is critical. Some systems may not require any maintenance. Other more common systems, like natural gas heating, need regular inspections and tune-ups.

2.  Get a professional tune-up

In any case, the best thing you can do to ensure that your furnace performs at its best is to schedule a professional tune-up every year. During that time, a technician will inspect your furnace for any operational problems and perform a number of maintenance tasks. These may include cleaning your system to help avoid future breakdowns, improve efficiency and make sure that your system is running safely.

3.  Keep your air filter clean

Cleaning or changing your air filter prevents many furnace breakdowns! A dirty filter will cause all sorts of performance and efficiency problems. You can avoid them by simply checking and/or changing your filter once per month.

4.  Test your carbon monoxide detectorscarbon monoxide alarms are an important safety device

Carbon monoxide detectors will warn you if your furnace develops a CO2 leak.  A leak could be life-threatening to you and your family. Make sure that your detectors are working and that they have fresh batteries, especially during the heating season.

5.  Give your air registers room to breathe

If any of your air registers are closed or blocked off by furniture, your furnace will have a hard time heating your home evenly and effectively. Make sure that all of your floor registers are open and there are no obstructions.

6.  Check the pilot light in older furnaces

If you have an older furnace with a pilot light, make sure the flame is burning bright blue. If it’s a different color, it is likely burning inefficiently and you should contact a furnace technician to investigate the problem.

7.  Don’t block outdoor exhaust pipes

High efficiency gas furnaces have exhaust pipes and they lead outside of the home and near the ground. It’s important to ensure nothing is blocking these pipes, so that your furnace can operate safely and efficiently.

8.  Keep the area around your system clear

Remove any clutter from around your furnace. This will ensure you and your service technician can easily access it when the time comes for any maintenance or repairs.

Additional Furnace Maintenance Tips

In some cases, you must replace a system or upgrade the one you have already. If your furnace is old, worn out, inefficient, or significantly oversized, the simplest solution is to replace it with a modern high-efficiency model.

Before buying a new furnace or modifying your existing unit, first make every effort to improve the energy efficiency of your home in other ways, then have a professional size your furnace. Energy-efficiency improvements will save money, because you can purchase a smaller unit. A properly sized furnace will operate most efficiently. You’ll want to choose a dependable unit and compare the warranties of each furnace you’re considering.

When shopping for high-efficiency furnaces, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. In mild climates with lower annual heating costs, the extra investment required to go from 80% to 90% or more efficiency may be hard to justify, but it’s always smart to look at your options.

You can always count on the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical, to make recommendations to best suit your needs.  Call 1.800.461.3010 to schedule an inspection and consultation.

Balancing hot & cold spots in your home

Do you ever walk from one room to another and notice a temperature difference? Do the floors feel cold in some rooms and not others? Balancing hot and cold spots in your home can bring you more comfort and lower utility bills. Knowing how to do this can save you money and aggravation.

A home with balanced air will improve air circulation, increase energy efficiency and enhance the overall performance of your heating and air systems. This balance involves modifying your existing HVAC system, which includes making adjustments in areas you may not be currently considering. By doing this your HVAC system will be working in harmony, avoid hot and cold spots throughout your home, and provide and improve air quality and comfort.

You can correct issues on your own by following these steps.

1. Check air filters for cleanliness

Clean filters improve your air quality, increase the efficiency of your systems, extend the life of your HVAC and help keep costs low.

2. Feel for drafts

Check your windows and doors for tight sealing. Add additional insulation measures if you can feel hot or cold coming through.

3. Open or close your register

A simple yet effective fix is to open registers during warm weather on your upper floor and at the same time partially close them on the first floor. When cold temperatures arrive, reverse the process.

4. Create a 2 degree difference

If you have separate thermostats for your first and second floors, set the thermostat at a two degree difference. For instance, your downstairs could be set at 72 while your upstairs is set at 74 degrees. Doing this can help with uneven temperatures on different floors.

5. Change the direction of ceiling fansChange the direction of ceiling fan to help with air flow

Switching the direction of a fan can affect air circulation. Set your ceiling fans to go counterclockwise during warming months to create a downward airflow. Change the direction in the cooler months. Fans should spin at a low speed in a clockwise motion so it can distribute warm air.

6. Install window coverings to prevent temperature differences

Window coverings can improve energy efficiency. In cooler seasons most of the sunlight that comes in standard double-pane windows becomes heat, so be sure to let the light in!

7. Clear registers of any blocks

When you block a vent with furniture your system has to work harder. Be sure your registers are clear of furniture or items that will restrict air flow.

8. Adjust your insulation

If your home isn’t properly insulated, you will have unbalanced air temperatures throughout your home. Hire a professional to evaluate your insulation needs. They will help find any problems that need correcting.

9. Set your thermostat fan setting to “ON”

By utilizing the “ON” setting, the fan will blow continuously,  filter the air and always be replacing it. This will keep the air more steady than by using the auto position where your air can become stagnant. There are pros and cons. When using the “On” setting, you may see an increase in your utility bill.

10. Make sure your HVAC system correlates with the needs of your home

You want to be sure your unit is not too small for the size of your home because you won’t get the results you need. You also don’t want one that is too large because it will over condition your home. Likewise, when the furnace is too large, it can cause issues from short cycling to inefficient operation and uncomfortable living space.

Balancing hot and cold spots in your home may require the help of a professional.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010 to schedule an appointment.

 

Cold Weather Home Maintenance

Temperatures have been cold across most of the country this month. You may be waiting until spring to tackle big home improvement projects, but here are some easy cold weather home maintenance tasks to consider.  Many of these jobs can be done yourself, but in some cases you will want to enlist a professional’s help.

1. Check Your HVAC System

It’s a good idea to do some basic maintenance to help keep your heating system working at optimal capacity. Check your filters, and change them if they look dirty. Filters should be replaced at least every three months. It’s also a good idea to have your HVAC system cleaned and checked by your heating professional.

2. Fill Gaps Around Windows and Doors

Drafts around windows and doors can leave you feeling cold, and they could be wasting energy as your HVAC system works harder to warm that cool air. Apply caulk around the window trim to seal off any drafts. You can also install weatherstripping around edges of doors and windows to create a tight seal. Another DIY tip is to make a simple door draft blocker to help keep heat from escaping under your door.Warm and cozy home

Adding insulation can also lower your utility bill, make your home more environmentally friendly and ensure that you stay nice and toasty! Since heat rises, most of the heat loss in your home escapes through your roof. To fight the cold, add an extra layer of insulation in your attic. Consider adding layers of insulation in your basement or garage to prevent heat loss from these areas as well. You can also insulate your garage door for extra protection.

3. Test the Sump Pump

As water drains from under and around your home, your sump pump pushes it out of the house and away from the foundation. You can consult your sump pump’s owner’s manual and perform some basic maintenance and regular testing yourself. Also have a professional inspect your sump pump each year.

4. Inspect Your Chimney and Fireplace

If you want to enjoy a warm fire this winter, be sure to get your chimneys, vents and fireplace cleaned first. A professional chimney sweep can clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney. If you have a gas fireplace, your chimney and flue should be inspected for any blockages. A professional will also inspect the gas lines and vents for leaks and can make necessary repairs.

6. Turn Off Outside Faucets

In cold weather, water in exterior pipes can freeze and cause pipes to burst. So, before the temperatures reach freezing disconnect garden hoses from outdoor faucets. If your exterior faucets have shutoff valves, turn them off. Then, release any water remaining in the pipe by opening and closing the outside tap. You can also help protect exterior faucets with an insulated cover.

These cold weather home maintenance tips will help keep your home warm and energy efficient this winter.  If you need professional assistance, be sure and call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010.

Best Water Heater Temperature

Whether you’re taking a shower or doing dishes, being stuck on the wrong water temperature is no fun. If you’re frustrated that you can’t seem to get the shower as warm enough, or because it feels like the water is at a painfully scalding temperature, you can do something about it. Achieve the best water heater temperature safely and correctly—whether you have a gas water heater or an electric model. You don’t have to settle for a water heater that runs too hot or too cold.

When setting the temperature – know the risks.

Yes, something as simple as a water heater can be dangerous! There are risks in both the process of adjusting the water heater and the problem of water temperature that isn’t right. Any time you are dealing with electricity and water there is risk. To protect yourself, be sure to follow any instructions for adjusting the temperature carefully and call on  professionals if you aren’t sure what to do.

As for the water heater setting, it’s important to have the correct setting to avoid the following risks:

  • Bacterial contamination – If the water isn’t hot enough, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Burns to the skin – If the water is too hot, it can result in scalding injuries to which children and the elderly are especially susceptible. At 150 degrees Fahrenheit, it takes less than two seconds to suffer third-degree burns. Anyone can be burned, but infants, young children, older adults and people with disabilities are more likely to experience burns, and require serious care and recovery.

What is the right temperature setting for your water heater?Hot water and shower faucet

The recommendation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is to set the temperature of your residential water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria are unlikely to survive at that temperature, and it is not hot enough to cause scalding. Also, at 120 degrees, your water heater will be able to supply enough hot water for your family while promoting energy efficiency.

However, depending on your home’s needs, you may require hotter water. Check with a plumbing professional for a recommendation if you aren’t sure.

Steps for how to set water heater temperature

1.  Turn off the power to the water heater at the circuit breaker panel.

2.  Find the dial or thermostat for your water heater. The location will vary depending on the model and type of  water heater you are using.  In most cases, you will find the dial behind an insulated panel. For an electric model, there are often two—one at the top of the tank and another at the bottom.

If you are trying to determine how to set a gas water heater temperature, you should find the dial near the bottom of the tank. The temperature for gas water heaters is easier to adjust because you only turn the knob counterclockwise to increase the temperature, or clockwise to decrease it.

For an electric model, you will need to access the dial behind the insulated panel. To do this, open the access panel using a flat-head screwdriver. Then, push aside the insulation covering and use the screwdriver to lower or raise the temperature to the desired range.

3.  If the water heater has two thermostats, make sure both are set to the same temperature.

4.  Replace the insulation and access panel once you are satisfied with the water temperature adjustment and restore power to the water heater.

5.  Always test the water temperature after adjusting the dial to ensure it is at a safe and appropriate temperature. Allow the water to heat to the new temperature setting, then run water from the tap at a sink or tub until it is hot. Catch some water in a cup and test the temperature with a cooking thermometer.

Next Steps

Keep in mind it may take as long as an hour for the water to reach the new temperature after having the unit shut down.  Again, working with water and electricity can be dangerous, so it’s a good idea to call an expert.  Call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010. for assistance.

Conserve Heat this Winter and Save

Colder days are here! Taking steps now to conserve and redirect heat will help you save on your energy bill  throughout the winter months. It can also prevent costly repairs to overworked systems.

Most of the tips below are free, and any costs are minimal compared to the amount of money you can save.

Bring in the warmth of sunlight

  • Open curtains on your south-facing windows and doors during the day to allow the sun’s light heat your home.
  • At night, close them to cut the chill from cold windows.

Cover drafty windows

  • Use window treatments such as a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames. Make sure the plastic is sealed tightly to the frame.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating drapes or shades on drafty windows after weatherizing, to conserve heat and save energy.

Adjust the temperature

  • Set your thermostat as low as comfortable when you are home and awake.
  • When you are away from the house or asleep, turn your thermostat back 10 degrees to 15 degrees for eight hours to save around 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bills.
  • Keep a moderate setting on your heat pump or use a programmable thermostat specially designed for use with heat pumps.

Locate and seal leaks

  • Seal air leaks. Some places to check are around utility cut-throughs for pipes, gaps around chimneys and recessed lights in insulated ceilings, and unfinished spaces behind cupboards and closets.
  • Use caulking or weatherstripping to seal air leaks around doors and windows.

Insulate the attic door

  • Even if your attic is insulated, don’t forget to check your attic door.
  • Add insulation to the inside of the door to prevent heated air from rising into the attic.

Maintain your heating systems

  • Schedule maintenance for your heating system.
  • Replace your furnaces and heat pump filters once a month or as needed.
  • Clean the flue vent regularly on your wood- and pellet-burning heaters. Clean the inside of the appliance with a wire brush to ensure that your home is heated efficiently.

Reduce heat loss from the fireplace

  • Keep your fireplace damper closed when there is no fire is burning. Keeping it open allows warm air to go right up the chimney.
  • When you use the fireplace, reduce heat loss by opening dampers in the bottom of the firebox or open the nearest window about an inch. Close doors to the room. Lower the thermostat setting to between 50 degrees and 55 degrees.
  • If you never use your fireplace, plug and seal the chimney flue.
  • Add caulking around the fireplace hearth.

Lower your water heating costs

  • Turn down the water heater temperature to the warm setting (12o degrees).

Use ceiling fans correctly

  • Most ceiling fans have a switch so you can set the blades to rotate in reverse during the winter. This pushes the warm air near the ceiling down toward the floor to keep you warmer.
  • Locate this switch on the body of the fan and set the blades to turn counter-clockwise. In summer, reverse the direction so the blades rotate in a clockwise direction.

Install door sweeps

  • Prevent cold air from blowing in by installing a door sweep at the bottom of exterior doors. Some utility companies offer them free to customers, so call to inquire before you buy one.

Seal electric outlets

  • Did you know electric outlets and switches can be sources of air leaks? Insulate them.
  • Turn off the power at the circuit breaker box. Insulate with pre-made foam gaskets. Measure the outlet to be sure you get the correct size.
  • Also, insert child-safety plugs in unused wall outlets to plug potential leaks.

Central Carolina Air Conditioning can help with your home efficiency and maintenance needs.  Request an appointment online or call us at 1.800.461.3010.