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.

Home Electrical Safety Checklist

Electricity is a modern convenience that most of us could not live without.  But along with the convenience, also comes some risk.  How much do you know about home electrical safety?  According to the National Fire Protection Association, “electrical failures or malfunctions were the second leading cause of U.S. home fires in 2012-2016.”  Below is a checklist to help ensure your home’s electrical safety.

Cords and plugs

  • Check all cords, plugs, surge protectors and extension cords for frayed casing, exposed wire or broken parts. Replace right away.It can be dangerous to overuse power strips and extension cords
  • Never run extension cords under carpets or over door thresholds.
  • Don’t use an extension cord as a permanent fixture. If you need additional outlets, contact a licensed electrician to install some wherever you require.
  • Do not overload one outlet with several high-wattage or heat-producing devices, for example a space heater or coffee maker.
  • Plugs should fit snugly into outlets. So, if yours do not, contact a licensed electrician.
  • Major appliances – washers, dryers, refrigerators, stoves, air conditioners, hot water heaters, etc. – should be plugged directly into a wall outlet. Do not use surge protectors, plug strips or extension cords.

Lighting

  • Only use light bulbs at or below the maximum wattage listed on your lamp or light.
  • Always place lamps on a flat, level surface and at least a foot from anything flammable like curtains.

Appliances

  • Place heat-producing appliances such as the toaster, heater and coffee maker away from flammable or combustible goods.
  • Unplug kitchen countertop and bathroom appliances when not in use.
  • Keep your kitchen exhaust fan clean and free of grease, lint and other blockages.
  • Never use a portable heater in the bathroom. The only safe options are a ceiling unit or strip heater placed up high.
  • If you use portable or space heaters, make sure they receive a seal of approval from a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.

Extra Safety Considerations

  • If you have young children, consider installing tamper-resistant electrical outlets. Always use a licensed electrician.
  • Ask a licensed electrician about installing arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) in your home. They are a special type of circuit breaker that shuts off the current when dangerous conditions arise.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are another type of circuit breaker, and these help reduce the risk of electric shock by switching off the circuit if it becomes hazardous. Most importantly, a licensed electrician should install GFCIs in your garage, basement, kitchen, bath and all outdoor outlets.
  • Test AFCIs and GFCIs at least once per month.
  • If you need to dig, always dial 811 to have your underground lines marked.

Contact a licensed electrician if you have any concerns about the electrical safety of your home or are planning home improvement projects.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by the incomplete burning of any carbon-containing material, like gasoline, natural gas, propane, coal or wood. CO is dangerous. It replaces oxygen in the blood and interferes with the transport of needed oxygen to cells in the body. It is deadly, and since symptoms often come on like other illnesses, they may be ignored. It’s important to educate yourself on carbon monoxide safety.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Everyone, including pets are at risk; however, young children, the elderly, and those with heart or lung problems are particularly vulnerable.  Low levels can cause flu-like symptoms, such as nausea and headache, as well as shortness of breath. Moderate levels can cause dizziness and light-headedness. High levels of CO can be fatal within minutes of exposure.  Carbon monoxide can be present even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms. So when you hear the alarm, you should take action regardless of how everyone in your household feels.

What to do if you suspect CO poisoning

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and people and pets in your home aren’t feeling well, it’s best to evacuate. Leave the door open for ventilation and contact the fire department immediately. If the alarm sounds, even if you and your family are symptom-free, contact the fire department anyway to be safe.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips

Many incidents involving carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented. Below are seven tips to help keep your home and family safe from carbon monoxide.

1.  Know the risks.

Anything that burns a fuel including a furnace, fireplace or generator, gas appliance or car produces a toxic by-product called carbon monoxide (CO).  When these devices are properly maintained and vented this gas can be effectively channeled out of your home. If not, inhaling carbon monoxide can trigger serious health issues.

2.  Keep your vents clear.

During and after a storm, make sure nothing is obstructing the outside stack or vent for your dryer, stove, furnace and fireplace.  In the event of a snow storm, be sure to prevent snow from building up and blocking these areas.

3.  Do not run engines in a closed area. 

Proper ventilation is critical to avoiding CO poisoning. Do not start a car, fire up a grill or stove, or run a generator in a closed area like a basement or garage.

4.  Schedule regular maintenance. 

At least once a year, have a qualified professional inspect your fuel-burning devices to make sure they continue to operate properly.

5.  Keep fireplaces clean and well vented. 

If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, make sure you keep it clean and that the flue is working properly.carbon monoxide alarms are an important safety device

6.  Install CO alarms. 

If you have fuel-burning appliances, a fireplace or an attached garage, install CO alarms in your home. Install one on every level within the vicinity of each sleeping area and in other locations required by any applicable building codes.

7.  Maintain your CO alarms. 

Your CO alarms need to be maintained regularly.  Many come equipped with a battery backup to ensure uninterrupted operation, even if the power goes out. But you will need to remember to change your batteries at the frequency recommended by the manufacturer, like you do with your smoke detectors.

To schedule an inspection of your HVAC system to make sure it is safe and properly ventilated, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.361.4010.

Garbage Disposals – a Do and Don’t List

Garbage disposals are a convenient way to manage food waste in your kitchen. With proper maintenance you can avoid clogged drains and stinky, costly repairs. Treat your garbage disposal well, and it will treat you well! Below we share some tips on how to keep your disposal working smoothly for many years and minimize the likelihood that you’ll need to call for plumbing or drain cleaning services.

Proper maintenance and operation will extend the life of your garbage disposal and prevent plumbing and drain mishaps.

DO Follow these Tips . . .

  • Keep your garbage disposal clean. Pour a little dish soap inside and let the garbage disposal run for a minute or so with cold water after washing dishes.
  • Run your garbage disposal regularly. Frequent use prevents rust and corrosion, assures that all parts stay moving and prevents obstructions from accumulating.
  • Grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water. Using cold water will cause any grease or oils that may get into the unit to solidify, so that they can be chopped up before reaching the trap.
  • Grind certain hard materials such as small chicken and fish bones, egg shells and small fruit pits. A scouring action is created by these materials that cleans the unit.
  • Cut large items into smaller pieces. Add them into the garbage disposal one at a time instead of trying to push through a large amount at once.

DON’T Dare . . .

Water runs smoothly through a clean garbage disposal

Only put biodegradable food in garbage disposals. These appliances are not trash cans! Non-food items can damage both blades and the motor.

When in doubt, throw it out!

  • Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal or paper.
  • Don’t grind anything combustible.
  • Don’t grind cigarette butts
  • Don’t pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain.
  • Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
  • Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains .
  • Don’t turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. Then, turn off the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds to flush out any remaining particles. Then turn off water.
  • Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running.
  • Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal such as pasta and rice. They expand when you add water in a pot and do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal.
  • Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal. They won’t harm the unit and they’ll help eliminate odors, but they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs.
  • Don’t use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage blades and pipes. Opt for a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer.

Ice is an extremely effective and inexpensive method for cleaning your garbage disposal, sharpening the blades and breaking up any grease build-up which has accumulated. A few ice cubes tossed in the garbage disposal which it’s running will chop the ice and scour all the hard to reach areas of the unit. Try this once or twice a month to keep your garbage disposal in good working order.

Keep Smells at Bay

Here are some natural methods to clean your garbage disposal that are good for the environment and are very inexpensive.

  • Take a lemon or orange and toss it into the disposal. The oils and juice from the fruits and peels naturally clean the walls inside the garbage disposal and create a fresh, long-lasting scent.
  • Freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and run those down the disposal. This will keep your blades sharp while safely killing odor-causing bacteria.
  • For stubborn odors pour baking soda into the drain and let it set for several hours before running the water and disposal.
  • For really stubborn odors, use a safe, natural cleaning product like Borax. Just pour 3-4 tablespoons of Borax down the drain and let it sit for an hour. Then turn on the hot water and flush the cleanser away.

Troubleshooting

Most garbage disposals that appear not to be working just need to be reset. There is usually a red or black reset button on the garbage disposal motor underneath your sink. Just push to reset. If the garbage disposal is plugged into a wall outlet, ensure the outlet has power. If that doesn’t work, check for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker.

If the reset doesn’t work, then we are here to help!  Contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Heating, & Plumbing at 1.800.461.3010 to schedule a visit with a plumbing expert.

 

Checklist: HVAC Winter Weather Prep

Winter is very much upon us!  Ideally, before you turned your system over to heat, you performed a quick HVAC winter weather prep.  If not, it isn’t too late to assess the performance of your HVAC system, as we still have plenty of cold days ahead.

There are some basic maintenance tasks you can perform on your own to check the readiness of your
system. Most newer heating systems require little maintenance, so a quick winter weather prep can greatly extend the life of your HVAC equipment.

1.  Power down & do a sound check

Turn off all power to the unit before performing any maintenance and wait for the blower to stop. Next, run a sound check by turning your unit back on and checking for unusual sounds, like banging or rattling.

2.  Look for signs of moisture

Check for moisture on windows, or rust or dirt accumulations on the vent pipe. This can indicate improper operation.

3.  Replace filtersChange filters at least four times per year

Replace air filters at least four times a year, or once each season.  If you haven’t changed them this winter, do it now. Dirty filters can cause your system to work harder, resulting in lower efficiency.

4.  Assess the room temperature

Check your thermostat’s temperature while the unit is on to ensure rooms are reaching their full comfort potential.

If, during your basic checklist rundown you discover any unusual noises, excess moisture or other signs
your unit is not functioning properly, contact your HVAC technician.

In addition to your DIY maintenance, regular inspections by a qualified HVAC technician are vital.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010 for full details. We provide 24/7 service so that your family doesn’t have to endure the cold if  your HVAC system stops working suddenly. We can also clean your heat exchanger, check the wire connections on your thermostat to make sure they’re connected properly, and ensure that your igniter switch is functioning. Let us provide peace of mind that your HVAC system is running properly so you can enjoy a comfortable and warm home with family and friends!

Why an Electrical Safety Inspection is Important – and Lifesaving

Have you ever considered scheduling an electrical safety inspection for your home?  You don’t often think about your electricity working. It runs behind the scenes and gives you all the modern comforts you want in your home. However, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), electrical problems are the largest cause of property damage in home structure fires across the US.

In addition, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) identifies small appliances plugged into inadequate or improper wiring as the leading cause of accidental electrocutions.  These safety hazards can be easily addressed and prevented with an electrical home inspection.

What Is an Electrical Safety Inspection?

An electrical safety inspection gives a full examination of your entire electrical system.  This ensures that electrical wires, systems, and appliances meet legal safety standards.

When Do You Need an Electrical Safety Inspection?

There are specific times when homeowners should schedule an inspection of their home’s electrical system. The Electrical Safety Foundation recommends that homeowners make an appointment for one when:

  • Purchasing a home
  • A home is 40 years or older
  • Adding an appliance
  • A home has had a major renovation

Benefits of an Electrical Safety Inspection

An inspection is important for the safety of your home and everyone in it. Getting your home’s electrical system checked by a professional will offer you peace of mind. An inspection will:

  • Ensure the safe operation of electrical components in your home
  • Identify common electrical mistakes made by contractors and previous homeowners
  • Recognize outdated wiring
  • Identify electrical wiring and components that may have degraded over time
  • Spot oversized fuses or breakers that could lead to fire
  • Allow for the correction of fire and safety hazards
  • Help you save energy and reduce costs
  • Meet insurance risk assessment inspections requirements
  • Let you know the electrical in a new home is safe before you purchase it

Warning Signs

If you experience any of these warning signs call a licensed electrician right away:

  • You feel a tingling sensation when you touch a plug or light switch
  • Your circuit breaker flips frequently or fuses blow regularly
  • An appliance gives off a faint rubbery or burning smell
  • Your outlet plates are warm to the touch or discolored
  • An electrical appliance has been waterlogged or submerged in any liquid
  • An outlet sparks
  • Your lights dim or flicker

To schedule a safety inspection with a professional electrician, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.

Why Is My Electrical Outlet Not Working?

A common electrical problem that homeowners face is dead outlets. Dead outlets happen in almost every house and for a number of reasons regardless of the home’s age. Identify why an electrical outlet is not working so you can decide if you can fix it yourself or if you need a professional electrician to do the job.

Start with troubleshooting the electrical outlet that isn’t working. Here are some ways to identify the problem.

Flip the light switch

Yes, it seems too obvious. But, this is the first place to start troubleshooting. Some outlets are controlled by a switch on the wall. The purpose of this outlet is to allow you to plug in a lamp, turn it on, and then have the ability to control the lamp from the light switch. Try flipping a few switches to see if this makes outlet live again.

Plug in different items

Test the outlet by plugging in multiple other items to the electrical outlet not working. If none of the devices power up, you can move on to other troubleshooting techniques.

Reset GFCI outlet

GFCI Outlet

The law requires installation of a GFCI outlet (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) in any area of a home where there is a faucet or other water source near an outlet. This is designed to protect against electrocution, but it can be temperamental.  It will cut off the electricity in an area in response to a power surge. Make sure that there is no water in contact with your GFCI outlet before pressing the small rectangular “Reset” button.

If the power did return to the outlet after resetting the GFCI outlet, test

to see if other nearby outlets also lost power. If the other outlets are dead you’ll need to inspect the breaker panel.

Check circuit breaker panel

If the electricity cuts off in only a portion of the house, then a circuit breaker has been tripped. The circuit breaker is meant to detect excess current and stop the flow of power to different circuits in your home to prevent damage. If this occurs, unplug everything from the problem outlet and turn off all appliances in that area of the house to avoid overloading the circuit.

Go to your breaker panel, which is typically located in a utility room, garage or basement, and look at the different switches. Each breaker switch controls the power to a different circuit in the home. If a breaker flipped to the middle between “ON” and “OFF” then it has been triggered.  Flip it to the “OFF” side first, and then flip it to the “ON” side. That will reset the breaker. Go back to the problem outlet and test it again.

Check for short circuit

A short circuit occurs when the flow of electricity is obstructed. This could potentially lead to a fire. If the breaker flips again after you’ve reset it and you don’t have anything plugged in, then leave the breaker “OFF” and call an electrician.

Check connection of electrical wiring

Loose connecting wires can cause an outlet to not give off electricity. Make sure the breaker to the outlet is switched “OFF” and then remove the face plate from the outlet. Pull the outlet a few inches out from the outlet box and check to make sure the ends of the wires that attach to the outlet are securely fastened beneath the outlet screws.

The black wire attaches to the gold screw on the side of the outlet, and the white wire connects to the silver screw on the other side. A copper or green wire attaches to the bottom of the outlet. If any of the wires have come loose, reattach them by positioning the wire beneath the corresponding screw and then tighten the screw securely to hold it in place.

Replace the outlet

Although rare, the outlet might be faulty. An outlet can reach its useful life, burn out and quit functioning. Home wiring is complex and can be dangerous. Certified electricians are the best at locating signs of electrical problems at home. If the problem is still occurring, then call a professional.

Remember that electrical repairs can be dangerous, possibly resulting in shock, electrocution, or fire if you are unsure of what you’re doing.  Call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 1.800.461.3010 for professional assistance.

Prepare Your Home for Snow and Ice: Winter Safety Tips

Falling snow is a beautiful part of winter, but it can also pose potential dangers for homeowners. It’s important to prepare your home for snow and ice so you can stay safe and prevent extra work down the road. To ensure no problems show up and to keep your family safe, these projects should be done throughout the coldest months.

Prevent Water Damage

  • Ventilate the attic and insulate the attic floor to stop warm air in the house from melting snow and ice on the roof.
  • Wrap exposed pipes with insulation sleeves.
  • Caulk cracks and holes in the home’s outer walls and foundation. Holes left by cable installation can also leave pipes exposed.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so warm air can circulate around pipes.
  • Trickle water from any faucet connected to pipes that run through unprotected spaces.
  • Locate the home’s main water valve, usually found in the basement or outside near the curb. Turn water off quickly if a pipe does burst.
  • If you are traveling and leave the house unoccupied for an extended period, shut off the water and have a professional drain the system. Turn the heat down, but don’t turn it off.

Buy a carbon-monoxide detector.It is important to have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home

  • Install carbon-monoxide detectors on all floors of your home to prevent one of the biggest winter dangers, carbon-monoxide poisoning. This can happen when ventilation of furnaces, generators, charcoal-burning or propane-burning devices, or wood-burning stoves are not properly ventilated.

Buy a generator

  • Use a generator to keep your heat and power running. This includes your sump pump, and your fire and burglar alarms.
  • Consider installing an automatic standby generator, which immediately turns on after a power outage. You may qualify for a discount on your homeowners insurance, too.

Prepare for a Flood

  • When snow and ice begin to melt, be aware of flooding for localized trouble spots around your house. Water can buildup can seep into your foundation and flood the basement.
  • If you have a sump pump, check to ensure it’s working properly in advance.

Ensure Proper Ventilation

  • Clean exhaust fans and filters in the bathrooms and kitchens because we spend more time indoors.
  • Dust and airborne particles can cause indoor air quality issues in the absence of adequate ventilation. They can even become a fire hazard.
  • Monitor other filters in your home, including cleaning out the dryer’s filter and replacing the furnace filter.

Prepare Your Pipes for the Cold

  • Prevent water issues by insulating water pipes exposed to freezing temperatures. Pipes that border an exterior wall have the greatest freezing potential, so they should be insulated with a towel or other piece of cloth.
  • In extreme cold weather, open water lines slightly to allow water to drip slowly into an indoor sink.

Prevent Icy Gutters

  • Clean gutters before the snow falls to help prevent water and ice buildup that could eventually find its way into your home.
  • After the colder weather arrives, look for clogged gutters by checking for large icicles hanging from them and/or an accumulation of ice on the roof.

Eliminate Outdoor Electrical Problems

  • Prevent electrical problems by inspecting the outside of your home. Specifically, look for damaged or frayed wires vulnerable to harm from snow and ice.
  • Check for any bird nests near electrical fixtures. Nests can cause a fire.
  • Make sure any electronic decorations have tight-fitting connections: three-pronged outlets are optimal. These cords should be stored away from main walkways, and never beneath a carpet or rug, as this creates a fire hazard.

For professional help with your HVAC, plumbing, and electrical work, contact Central Carolina Air Conditioning at 1.800.461.3010. This winter, we can help you prepare your home for snow and ice!

Protect Outdoor Faucets During Winter

Winterizing your outdoor faucet, also known as a hose bib or water spigot, is a simple, but important project. Done correctly, you can save your pipes from freezing and prevent the costly consequences that come with frozen pipes. A frozen outdoor faucet can cause serious water damage to your home and property. Luckily, it is easy to protect outdoor faucets during winter, if you follow these tips.

Why Do I Need to Protect my Outdoor Faucets?

Water expands as it freezes, so if water is inside your pipes when the temperature drops below freezing, the ice can grow too large and burst the pipe. The problem may not be immediately obvious, especially if the leak is inside the wall. A good indicator that there’s an issue is if there’s water spraying outside.

If you see water around the spigot or inside your house, call your plumber immediately! Extensive damage can result if you wait too long to fix.

Thankfully, avoiding a frozen outdoor faucet is easy and not expensive to do yourself. A few minutes now can save you time, money and inconvenience.

Avoid a Frozen Faucet During Winter with 4 Easy Steps:

1. Disconnect your hoses before winter

This step is important because a connected hose holds water even when the faucet is turned off. When the temperature drops, any water inside the hose freezes inside of the hose and pipe and can burst. We often see instances where the break happens in winter but people don’t notice until spring when they turn on the outdoor faucet. Depending on where the break is, you can get water spraying inside or outside your home when you turn the water on.Protect Outdoor Faucets from Freezing

2. Use an outdoor faucet cover

Disconnecting the hose is important, but doesn’t completely solve the problem – you also need a faucet cover. Covers are easy to install and will help protect your outdoor faucets during winter. Luckily, most hardware stores carry inexpensive covers that keep faucets protected from the winter elements. After you purchase and install, based on the manufacturer’s instructions, be sure to secure it tightly in place. This little step can save you a lot of frustration and potential water damage.

3. Install a frost-free faucet

If you have already experienced problems or are looking for a more permanent solution, you can talk to your plumber about replacing your faucet with a frost-free spigot. This is an outdoor faucet designed to operate in freezing temperatures. You will still disconnect the hose in the winter. The faucet can break if the hose is left connected because the water stays trapped in the faucet head and pipe. You won’t notice there’s a problem until spring when you turn on the faucet.

4. If you leave town, shut off the water

If you’re leaving town for a few days or more, turn the water off at the main shutoff. That way, if frozen pipes do crack, you’ll have far less damage. Don’t forget to shut off your automatic ice maker, so it doesn’t continue to make ice. Even if the ice bin is full, the ice will evaporate and the ice maker will try to make more.

A few preventative steps today to ensure your pipes are safe this winter can save you time, money and effort in the future. Call a trusted plumber at Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electric (800.461.3010) right away if you suspect that your faucet is broken or you need help winterizing it. We will help you decide what works best for you, your family and your home.

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.