Electrical upgrades that add value and safety

Making electrical upgrades in your home can give you peace of mind that safety hazards are minimal and your electricity is reliable. You also want to add electrical features that add to your home’s value. Consider modern upgrades that make your home look and feel brand new and that are a positive investment to the home.

New wiring

Updated wiring is attractive to future potential homeowners and it gives you security knowing your home’s electrical system is safe and secure for many years to come. If you are considering an electrical project hire a professional for an evaluation.

Electrical panel

An electrical panel that is old and worn can contain damaged wiring. This can leave your home unprotected from fire hazards and cause an electric shock. If your home was built more than 30 years ago, it’s advisable to hedge your risk and upgrade your electrical panel.

More outlets

Broken outlets usually get all the attention, but if you are running a bunch of extension cords through your home it might be time to install additional outlets. Not having enough outlets is not only a hassle, it’s dangerous. Evaluate your home to identify where more outlets could improve safety and convenience.

Surge protection

Whole-home surge protection prevents the need for many individual surge protector strips attached to your electronics. Installing a single system to protect your home during a lightning storm or unexpected surge saves you worry and unsightliness of a bunch of extra wires.

Lighting under cabinets

Kitchen prep, cooking, cleaning and entertaining in the kitchen is better with under-cabinet lighting that include fixtures installed on the underside of cabinets. They make working in the kitchen easier by lighting countertop surfaces that are usually in the shadows. Also consider other rooms where you have cabinets such as the living room, bedroom and laundry room. This upgrade makes a huge difference in the look of a room with a warmer, more contemporary appeal.

Laundry room lighting

Most laundry spaces use 4-foot fluorescent tube lighting. When the light isn’t flickering or buzzing it’s still probably not serving you or the space well. Recessed lighting is a better option that fills the space with warm, comfortable light. Overall it’s directed well for the the tasks at hand.

Ceiling fans

Ceiling fans are one of the most-wanted decorative home features. They are extremely efficient and can save energy dollars in every season. In the winter, setting a ceiling fan to work in reverse draws down the warm air from the ceiling. In the summer, you reverse the direction to create a cooling effect. Ceiling fans are also an attractive addition in most rooms.

Landscape lightingLandscape lighting can add safety and value to your home

When considering electrical upgrades don’t forget the outdoors. Outdoor lighting creates a more inviting look and adds a layer of safety around your home. There are many types of landscape lighting options including up lights that are installed below a tree or structure and down lights installed at a high level to highlight objects below. Accent lights are another option to highlight a specific landscape feature, and path lights illuminate walkways or steps for safety and security purposes.

If your electrical upgrades require a professional, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Preparing for a power outage

Preparing for a power outage can keep panic at bay when the weather is cold or stormy and the power goes out unexpectedly. If you have emergency items ready you will be able to ride out an outage in comfort. Whether you live in an area prone to outages or have a reliable connection, stock up on supplies now to avoid a crisis later.

Some of the ways that you can prepare for a power outage include:

Creating an emergency plan

Make sure that everyone in your house is aware of what to do when the power goes out and where supplies are located when they are needed. Keep your written plan in an easily accessible location and make sure everyone knows where to find it.

Assembling an emergency kit

Putting together an emergency kit, non-perishable food, and supplies for heating and communication. Be sure your family is familiar with the contents of the kit and where it is located.

Some of the supplies that should be included in your kit are:

  • Water
  • First-aid supplies
  • Flashlights/lanterns
  • Batteries
  • Cell phone battery back-up
  • Clock
  • Radio
  • Non-perishable food
  • A copy of your emergency plans
Cold weather plans

In the colder months think about how you will stay warm in the event of an electrical outage. Consider how you will stay warm if the power goes out. If you use a gas fireplace you may want to install a battery backup for the starter. If your heat is powered by a wood stove, stock up on firewood. Never use a propane heater inside your home unless it is one specifically designed for the indoors because carbon monoxide can build and create a deadly hazard.

Your pipes can freeze and burst in a power outage if they aren’t properly insulated. If you’re concerned about your pipes freezing, shut off the main water valve in your home and open all the faucets until the pipes are empty.

Other considerations

When preparing for a power outage, you should also consider your valuables. Be sure surge protectors are in place to protect electronics. Put battery-operated flashlights in a centralized location so you can reach them quickly, especially in the dark.

Make sure you have plenty of batteries in many different sizes for all emergency needs. From your flashlights and radios to clocks, appliances and smoke detectors batteries will be very important to make life easier.

Don’t forget to prepare your car. Always want to fill up the car gas tank when you are expecting a storm. Gas stations are powered by electricity, so if there’s no power, there’s no gas!

Lastly, but certainly not an afterthought, think about how you will prepare food without electricity. You can light a match to ignite a gas appliance. But if you have an electric stovetop and oven you will need to find an alternative way to cook.  A great substitute will be using a propane grill or an open fire outdoors. Stock up on propane or wood and make sure you have a manual can opener.

If you need help from a professional, but sure and contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, and Electrical for your home maintenance needs.

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.

 

Improve Indoor Air Quality with HVAC Technology

Americans are spending an average of 90% of their time indoors! Therefore, indoor air pollution poses a major health risk. This is especially true for young children, older adults and people who have heart or lung diseases and spend even more time indoors. Fortunately, HVAC technology offers ways to improve indoor air quality and prevent air pollution.

What are some causes of indoor air pollution?Dust can cause indoor pollution

Dust and other fine particles from vehicle exhaust, boilers, construction, etc., can get indoors through windows, doors and other openings. They can also get drawn indoors through a building’s HVAC system. In addition, mold, pet hair, dander and dust mites can build up over time and contribute to indoor air pollution.

Air quality issues can develop if proper ventilation is lacking. Improper ventilation allows for the buildup of hazardous pollutants. Cigarette smoke, synthetic building materials, carpeting and furniture, personal care products, pesticides, cleaning solvents, air fresheners and dry-cleaned clothing, can all contain pollutants.

Then there are pathogens — viruses and bacteria that can linger and spread contagious illnesses. These pathogens can even be distributed throughout a building by the HVAC system or be recirculated through ductwork.

Additionally, some of the newer building features such as airtight construction and improved insulation can increase all of this indoor air pollution because it limits the flow of fresh air into the building.

Here are seven ways that HVAC technology can improve your home’s air quality.

1.  Use UVC technology

UVC is the most damaging type of solar radiation, but it is completely filtered out by the atmosphere and does not reach the earth’s surface. UVC-emitting lights are useful for air purification because UVC can kill virtually any microbe. Today, UVC is used in many healthcare facilities as part of air disinfection systems. It’s also used in other buildings where air quality and preventing the spread of illness is a concern. Schools, offices, senior living facilities and large residential buildings can benefit from UVC.

2. Incorporate good ventilation design

A properly designed ventilation system reduces indoor air pollution by providing fresh air, controlling odors and eliminating contaminants.

3. Use VRF for humidity (and temperature) control

As part of your indoor air quality testing, you can use a humidity gauge to see if the humidity in your building is at a healthy level — between 30% and 50%. To maintain a good, consistent humidity level and temperature, consider a zoned HVAC technology called Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF).

4. Explore the HEPA filter option

Standard air conditioner and furnace filters do not remove pathogens like UVC does,but these everyday filters still play an important role. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters reduce indoor air pollution by trapping 99.97% of dust, pollen and smoke particles.

5.  Clean the ductwork to reduce indoor air pollution

Whatever fine debris is floating in your building’s air can accumulate in the ductwork, thus impacting air quality. The particles in your ductwork can end up back in the air you breathe.  Clean your ductwork to help prevent

6.  Bring in a professional for mold remediation

By the time you learn you have mold in your air ducts, then the problem could already be widespread. Unchecked, mold is more than an air quality issue, it is a health issue. It is crucial to call an HVAC professional, if you have mold. An HVAC professional will determine where and how the mold problem started, and help you resolve the underlying issue so that mold does not recur.

7. Stay on top of air quality with routine HVAC maintenance

Your HVAC system circulates the air you breathe, so be sure and schedule regular inspections. Investing in routine HVAC maintenance, along with duct inspection and cleaning, helps you detect, prevent and eliminate sources of indoor air pollution.  This ensures that your HVAC system is performing properly.

For peace of mind and control of indoor air pollution, ask the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical, about their Whole House Maintenance Agreement!

Heating and Air Affects Health

Heating and air is not something that we consider unless something is wrong, even though it is such an important aspect of our everyday comfort. Did you know heating and air can do much more than just change the temperature of our homes? It’s true – heating and air affects health.

There are many ways homeowners can maximize health and comfort with their heating and air systems. With smart heating and air solutions homeowners can:

  • Improve air quality for better peace of mind
  • Expect consistent heating and air performance no matter the system’s age
  • Keep heating and air from damaging the home
  • Help the heating and air system last longer and work better
  • Save money from expensive repairs

Heating and air affects indoor air qualityDusty filters can impact indoor air quality

Every day, we breathe in thousands of microscopic particles particles and pathogens in our own homes. Often, outdoor air is cleaner than the air inside our homes. Homeowners who regularly use their heating and air conditioning benefit from air filtration. This is because all indoor air passes through a filter installed in the heating and air system before it is conditioned.

The average home heating and air filter removes particles like:

  • Pet dander
  • Insects, fecal matter
  • Hair
  • Dust
  • And more

Depending on your home and preferences you can choose to upgrade your air filter to catch smaller particles including:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Gasses, vapors and fumes

If you have a family that depends on high indoor air quality, consider an upgrade. It could benefit people in your family who might:

  • Be sick
  • Have allergies
  • Suffer from asthma
  • Battle respiratory issues

Work with your HVAC contractors to determine how to fortify your home against poor indoor air. Reliable heating and air should be the last worry homeowners have. No matter what time of the year it is, homeowners should always have:

  • Reliable heating and air conditioning
  • Accurate temperature control
  • High indoor air quality
  • Low heating and air bills
  • Peace of mind

Maintenance Matters

Homeowners invest in heating and air and we expect our central air systems to deliver, but how can you maximize your heating and air systems to deliver these results?

The answer is regular maintenance.  The reason why heating and air technicians recommend regular maintenance is because it works.

Regular heating and air maintenance prevents most repairs and damages. Once your technician is through, you can expect:

  • Proper and efficient heating and air operation
  • Reliable heating and air service
  • A clean and safe heating and air system
  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Improved energy efficiency
  • Fewer heating and repairs, if any
  • A longer lasting heating and air system

The main reason we use heating and air is to control the temperature of our homes and some homeowners do not know just how temperature changes can affect their home and health.

If heating and air is too dry:

  • Furnishing loses shine and luster
  • Instruments warp out of tune
  • Wood splinters and cracks
  • Paint peels
  • Skin, hair, nails, eyes and nasal passages dehydrate

In short, dry heating and air causes trouble.

Additionally, heating and air that is too dry or moist also manipulates the feeling of temperature, so even though the thermostat reads a certain temperature, your air may not feel like it. As a result, homeowners generally change the temperature until they feel what they want. This causes large energy spending, longer heating and air cycles and other inconveniences.

Fortunately, there is a solution for chronically dry heating and air. Your HVAC technicians can install a central humidifier. They analyze the home, take measurements and determine just how much moisture the air needs. As a result, the balance of your heating and air is restored.

If you have concerns about how your heating and air affects health, then contact the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010.

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.

Find out why your toilet keeps clogging

Get to the bottom of what is causing your toilet to clog once and for all. There are a few reasons your toilet keeps clogging. The following reasons could help you put down the plunger for good! Plunging is only a temporary fix so it’s important to find the root cause of the clogs.

Here are some common scenarios that might explain your returning toilet clogs.

Old toilet

If your toilet is older, it may not be able to handle a lot of flushes. By upgrading your toilet, you can ensure it is working properly and is updated to current standards. Newer toilets are designed to flush with a significant reduction in water usage while still clearing the toilet bowl completely.

Valve issues

Check the fill valve to ensure it is working properly. The fill valve is a mechanism inside the toilet tank that ensures there is enough water to flush. When the tank doesn’t fill with enough water, clogs become more common.

Flapper not opening completely

The flapper is the part of your toilet that lets water flow from the tank on the back down into the toilet bowl, creating the flush. If the flapper doesn’t fully open it won’t release enough water and you’ll get a weak flush. Clogs are common in toilets with a weak flush.

To fix it adjust the chain in the tank that connects the flapper to the flush handle. That way, the flapper opens completely when you flush.

Pipe blockages

Sometimes you can have a block in the pipes beyond the toilet. These blockages are most likely caused by flushing things that shouldn’t be flushed like a toothbrush or razor that fell into the toilet. These items will slowly be collecting debris and ultimately cause a clog.

Other common things people flush – sometimes accidentally – that cause clogs include:

  • Feminine products
  • Facial tissues
  • Cotton swabs/Q-tips
  • Dental floss
  • Diapers

Sewage line issues

A major sewer line problem somewhere in your neighborhood could be the reason why your toilet keeps clogging. Broken pipes, tree roots growing into the sewer line, or corroded metal pipes are all common causes of sewer line issues. There isn’t much homeowners can do to prevent these types of damage. However, regular sewer line maintenance and inspections can help uncover small issues before they become big, expensive problems.

Plumbing vent issues

If your plumbing vent is blocked or damaged you can get a clog. The plumbing vent removes gas from the plumbing system and helps the pipes maintain proper pressure. If your plumbing vent was damaged or is being blocked, this could cause the toilet to flush with little force.

Something stuck in the trap

The “trap” is an S-shaped tube that separates your toilet from the drain line (and keeps nasty sewer gases from getting into your home). If something unflushable was flushed down the toilet, it could be stuck in this trap. Each time you flush, more debris gets wrapped around this object, eventually leading to a clog.

man plunges toilet and grimaces

A plunger can solve the problem by sending all the debris down the sewer drain, but the object stays in the trap because its shape makes it difficult to get through the S-curve.

To fix this, you must take the toilet off the floor and get to it from the bottom. This is a pain, so make sure you’ve eliminated other possible causes. Many people would rather call a plumber because mistakes can lead to bigger problems and higher costs.

If you decide to pursue this task on your own, make sure you replace the wax ring on the bottom of your toilet if you remove the toilet from the floor. This is the seal that keeps wastewater from leaking into your home.

If all else fails …

You’ll probably have to pull up the toilet. This job will take several hours. The steps involve turning off and unhooking the water supply, partially disassembling the toilet, and unscrewing it from its mounting ring. At that point, you can usually get at the problem. Be sure to buy a new wax ring and new mounting bolts to reseal the toilet base.

Remember, if other drains in your home are plugged, or if water comes up through them, the problem is probably farther down in the main drain pipes and usually out of easy reach.

If your toilet keeps clogging and the DIY fixes aren’t working, then contact the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010!

Best Electric Fireplace Benefits

Electric fireplaces are an attractive, much more cost-effective alternative to a wood-burning fireplace. Some of the best electric fireplace benefits are their safety features, impressive heat output and energy efficiency.  Electric models provide a significant amount of heat for small spaces.  They also reduce the need to run the furnace at full speed and save money on energy bills.

Person operates electric fireplace with remote control

What is an Electric Fireplace?

An electric fireplace is an electric heater that has the look of a fireplace, with realistic-looking flames.  They are much sturdier than your average space heater. They work by drawing in the cool air in a room, heating the air using internal heating coils, and then forcing the warm air back out using a fan system.

Are Electric Fireplaces Safe?

There is no need to worry! While improper use and other safety issues can arise with any electric appliance, these units are actually very safe. In fact, many people choose an electric fireplace over traditional gas and wood-burning options.

Electric fireplaces require virtually no maintenance. Since there is no real fire, you don’t have to worry about dangerous smoke or fumes. This makes them an ideal choice for the safety-conscious and for anyone dealing with allergies or breathing sensitivities. If any troubleshooting is required, it won’t involve climbing on the roof or calling a chimney sweep.

Electric Fireplace Safety Tips

When it comes to electric fireplace safety, it’s a little less intimidating than traditional space heaters. Electric fireplaces are sturdier than space heaters, making them nearly impossible to knock over. However, it’s important to follow safety guidelines.

For instance:

  • Keep surrounding objects at a safe distance – Your electric fireplace heater should be clear of objects such as blankets, electronics, furniture or toys. Leave at least three feet of clear space in all directions. Never place anything on top of your electric fireplace.
  • Avoid touching the surface – The surfaces of your electric fireplace can become hot to the touch during use. It’s best not to touch it at all when in use.
  • Do not leave children or pets unattended – Accidents can happen when it involves small kids or animals. Don’t leave them unattended when your electric fireplace is in use.
  • Use your unit inside – Electric fireplace heaters are designed to be used indoors only.
  • Make sure your outlets are safe – Never plug your electric fireplace into an outlet you suspect is unsafe, nor use a cord or plug that is frayed or damaged. If you’re unsure of the safety of your electric system, consider an electrical safety inspection.
  • Unplug the unit when not in use – For precautionary reasons, always unplug your electric fireplace heater when it’s not in use.
  • Never modify the unit – Modifying an electric fireplace can be very dangerous. Always consult the owner’s manual when problems come up. Hire a qualified electrician to do any repairs or modifications.

Installation Options

In most cases, you can put your unit anywhere in your home you want to enjoy the best electric fireplace benefits. Depending on the model you choose, the unit can be mounted to the wall, set on a TV stand or installed into the wall. You can use electric fireplaces on most types of flooring, including carpet. Because it’s an electric appliance, keep it away from liquids, especially while the unit is turned on. Overall, these units are safe.

If you are unsure if an electric fireplace is right for your home contact an electrical professional from Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010!

Do bath bombs cause drain clogs?

Tossing a fizzy, colorful bath bomb into your tub can transform your bathroom into a stress-relieving spa. It’s a great way to unwind after a long, hard day. But, be cautious, because bath bombs cause drain clogs.

Knowing the danger of using bath bombs and what you can do to prevent problems can help you take care of your bathtub drains.pink bath bomb in tub can cause drain clog

So just how do bath bombs cause drain clogs?

The answer lies in the ingredients, which can vary greatly.

Bath bombs typically consist of salts, scent and oils designed to create a fragrant, relaxing and colorful bathing experience. They may include:

  • Epsom salt and baking soda, that typically dissolve in water.
  • Other common additives—including essential oils, cornstarch, cocoa butter, bits of flowers, and even glitter, which do not dissolve well. These additives leave behind residue that may stick to the inside of your pipes. Oils often solidify as they cool, and cornstarch can harden in pipe elbows or curves as it dries.
  • Over time, bath bomb remains may collect soap, hair, and other substances, eventually leading to nasty clogs.

Can you have your bath bombs and clean pipes, too?

You may be happy to hear that you can have your bath scents and keep your pipes running in the right direction!

1. Use barriers to prevent ingredients from going down the drain.

  • Ideally, your tub stopper should include a strainer to keep out large objects.
  • For more protection, place the bath bomb in a nylon sock and tie it shut before putting in the water. The nylon will allow the good stuff to disperse in the water, while keeping most of the clog starters contained.

2.  If you have your heart set on floating petals and glitter confetti, use sparingly and be prepared for a little extra work.

  • Before draining the water, use a fine mesh net to catch solid material.
  • If possible, temporarily remove the stopper and add an extra layer to the strainer by covering it with nylon material or mesh screen. You may need to weigh the strainer down as the water drains.

3.  Immediately after using bath bombs, flush your drain thoroughly with very hot water, or use a vinegar and baking soda mix to help break up residue before it can settle.

  • Pour 1 cup of baking soda in the drain.
  • Add 1-2 cups white vinegar.
  • Cover the drain and let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes.
  • Flush with hot water.

Never mix bath bombs and hot tubs

In the case of a hot tub, bath bombs can do more than just a little damage. Bath bombs can destroy the functionality of your hot tub in just a few uses. Small pieces found inside bath bombs can destroy the jets and cause devastating clogs. Before adding any substances that are not specifically designed for hot tub use, check the hot tub manufacturer’s recommendations. You may void your warranty if you don’t follow their guidelines.

Get professional help if your drains are slow

If you’ve been using bath bombs regularly and you’ve noticed that your tub is draining much slower than usual, you probably already have a clog. Although you might get lucky with a home remedy, your best bet is to call a professional to clear your drain.  Call the professionals at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical for expert assistance – 1.800.461.3010.